Nancy J. Ray, 85, of Bellefonte, passed away on Friday, March 17, 2023, surrounded by her loving family at Wynwood House in Centre Hall. Born on October 6, 1937, in Port Matilda, she was the daughter of the late Louise (DeAngelo) Cowher and was raised by the late Charles and Kathleen “Boots” Shawley. On August 18, 1957, she married her beloved husband, Basil M. Ray, who preceded her in death on May 5, 2017, after sharing nearly 60 years of marriage together.
Nancy was a 1955 graduate of Port Matilda High School. Over the years she worked at Cohen’s Dress Shop and then as a bookkeeper for GM McCrossin, before taking a position as the secretary at Centre Crest. After 25 years with Centre Crest, she retired in 2013.
She is survived by her two children, Brian D. Ray (Tanga Dawes) of Sheridan, WY, and Stefanie D. Lewis (Brian) of Zion; three grandchildren, Ashley Morelli (Pete) of Pittsburgh, Austin Lewis (Kendra) of Aaronsburg, and Andrew Lewis (Casey) of Howard; eight great grandchildren: Bridyn Lewis, Emma Pyle-Lewis, Ian Kontier, Caleb Morelli, Gabriella Morelli, Isaac Lewis, Olivia Lewis, and Adalyn Lewis; and her adored grand-bunnies, Mochie and Binky, and four very spoiled grand-dogs: Dakota, Glitter, Mia, and Creed. Also surviving is a sister, Carol “Dixie” Ishler (John) of Virginia.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by a sister, Shirley Blakeslee (Allen).
Nancy was a lifelong member of the former Axemann Methodist Church (currently New Hope United Methodist Church). As an exceptionally skilled cook and baker, she will be fondly remembered for her Thanksgiving tradition of pig stomach and delicious baked goods, especially her chocolate chip cookies, that she would individually wrap so her treats were always ready to give away! Her children and grandchildren were always mesmerized by her ability to fluently recite her ABCs backwards at any given moment! She had acquired a rather huge cow collection over the years, including numerous paintings, puzzles, figurines, and stuffies. She was also a fan of NASCAR and Jeff Gordon. Although she was never one to love the idea of flying, Nancy would have done anything for her family, so her first plane ride was when she was 80 years old, to go visit her son in Wyoming. Her family and friends will cherish the memories that she leaves behind.
A public viewing will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 12:30 – 2:30 P.M., at Wetzler Funeral Service, Inc., 206 N. Spring Street, Bellefonte. Funeral services will immediately follow, beginning at 2:30 P.M., at the funeral home, with Pastor Rick Gilbaugh officiating. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Nancy to the Wynwood House of Centre Hall, 122 Wynwood Drive, Centre Hall, PA 16828, or to Grane Hospice Care, 115 Union Avenue, Altoona, PA 16602.