Boatman, Donald

BOATMAN, Donald "Ray"

BOATMAN, Donald "Ray", age 99, of Bellbrook, passed away Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at his residence.

Ray was born March 25, 1925, on Longview Dairy Farm in Greene County to Harry and Faith (Smart) Boatman. He graduated from Parker Co-op High School in 1943. He retired from Sears Roebuck in 1986 after 40 years of service to the company. Ray and his wife were charter members of Calvary Grace Brethren Church in Kettering, where Ray was the last surviving member of the original building committee.

Family-oriented, social, and outgoing, Ray was known to be extremely friendly and caring. He was quite handy and talented in fixing and building things. He built his first home and performed numerous construction and repair projects around the house. He was an avid hunter and greatly enjoyed gardening, bird watching, and traveling with his wife. Ray loved his wife deeply and said, "The greatest joy in my life was the times Joan and I traveled together." They took numerous trips in their little trailer, traveling across the states, including their favorite trip - a three-month journey to Alaska, all the way up to Coldfoot. For over 20 years, they visited the all-night gospel sing at Renfro Valley in Kentucky, which became a fond tradition. Ray enjoyed a week-long Canadian fishing trip with his wife each fall, extended to two weeks after their retirement. While the kids were growing up, Ray often took the family on spur-of-the-moment winter trips, driving to Pompano Beach, Florida, where they stayed at a family-owned motel a block from the ocean.

Ray enjoyed several traditions during his life, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve celebrations with family at home, starting the Christmas holiday with a shrimp appetizer, and sending the family home with fresh Florida oranges at the end of the night. In addition, he made homemade ice cream with the hand crank during the summer. He volunteered at a local nursing home for many years to spread care and happiness to the residents. The local police department awarded him Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Among many things, he will be remembered for his love of Fords. Over his lifetime, he owned several Ford automobiles, including a King Cobra Mustang and a '66 Fairlane GTA. However, the love Ray had for his wife will be remembered more than anything else. After she passed away, Ray visited the cemetery almost every day, rain or shine. He claimed that he lost the most significant part of his life and his reason for living when she died in 2016. While his wife played the organ at church, Ray would comment with pride to those close by, "That's my wife!"

He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Joan; great-granddaughter, Lori Boatman; great-great-grandson, Jacob Vacchiano; two sons-in-law, Charles Brown and Steve Hodson; one daughter-in-law, Sandy Boatman; his brothers, Richard and Ronald Boatman; and one sister, Zelma Frasure. He is survived by four children, Rayann Brown, Carolyn Hodson, Douglas (Janet) Boatman, and David (Jennie) Boatman; 12 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; 12 great-great-grandchildren; and one sister, Zona (Tony) Alonzo.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Monday, June 17, at Conner & Koch Funeral Home in Bellbrook. Burial will be in Bellbrook Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour before the service on Monday at the funeral home. Condolences at

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