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By KELLY RICHARDSON
HARDIN COUNTY — Damon Ray caused quite a commotion when he went to Glendale Christian Church.
Brother Mike Bell said Ray used to shake everyone’s hand in church on Sunday. But when he couldn’t move around the church like he used to, people came to him. They would stand in line to shake his hand.
“You couldn’t get down that aisle,” Bell said, laughing.
Ray, a former teacher, principal and superintendent from Sonora in the Hardin County Schools system, died Tuesday at North Hardin Health and Rehabilitation Center in Radcliff. He was 85.
Ray taught at Glendale High School from 1949 to 1954, served as principal at Glendale Elementary and High School until 1962, and then at East Hardin High School until 1969. He was assistant superintendent in 1968 and superintendent in 1969. He continued working in other positions in the district, including as principal at Lincoln Trail Elementary School and director of pupil personnel, until his retirement in 1988.
The football stadium at East Hardin Middle School is named after Ray.
Several former colleagues remember Ray as caring and considerate of all the students and faculty he worked with through the years.
Larry Brawner, who worked with Ray in several capacities in the district, said Ray was the greatest “people-person” he had ever met.
“He was always tuned into people’s needs and concerns,” Brawner said.
Brawner recalled one student of Ray’s who wouldn’t play basketball because he couldn’t afford the shoes or other equipment necessary. Ray “took care of it,” Brawner said.
Bill Reynolds, who also worked in HCS with Ray, reiterated Brawner’s thoughts.
“Mr. Ray was the most caring person I’ve ever seen,” Reynolds said.
For Reynolds, Ray was a “living legend” in the county district, and one of the best people to ever work there.
“He was basically what I call an icon for Hardin County Schools,” he said.
Ray also attended school in HCS, graduating from Upton High School, Brawner said. He was named a distinguished alumnus in 1994, according to Dick Thornton, HCS public relations director.
Kelly Richardson can be reached at (270) 505-1747.