Cover photo for Jessie Elders Ray's Obituary
Jessie Elders Ray Profile Photo
1927 Jessie 2023

Jessie Elders Ray

July 1, 1927 — August 23, 2023

Whittier, NC

Jessie Elders Ray, age 96, joined her loving Savior and family in heaven on August 23, 2023. Born on July 1, 1927 in Barkers Creek Community to the late Cordelia Gibson and Thomas Andrew Elders, Jessie lived almost all her life in Jackson County and she never wanted to move any place else. She loved her God, her family and her home. She would often tell anyone who would listen that “these mountains are the safest and most beautiful place in the world.”


She always enjoyed when people visited or called her and she loved so much talking on the phone every day to her closest friend from childhood –her cousin, Bonnie Gibson, who passed in 2019.


In addition to her parents, Jessie was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Charlie Randolph Ray; sisters, Maggie Elders, Maybelle Gibson, Evelyn Williamson, and Hazel Browning; and brothers: Raymond Elders and Virgil Elders.


Jessie is survived by her sister, Jean Stevens; daughters: Arlene (George) Maney and Janice (Glenn) Melton; grandchildren: Jody (Mary) Maney, Jeri (Bobby) Hensley, and Amy (Richard) Elrod; great-grandchildren: Isaac Hensley, Riley Hensley and Addison Elrod. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who she thought of as “my own young’uns.” She was known as “Aunt Jessie” by friends and relatives alike.


All who knew her were truly blessed to have had her in their lives for so long.


Special thanks to all her friends, both staff and residents, at Smoky Mountain Health and Rehabilitation Center in Waynesville, NC for the kind and exceptional care she received.


Visitation will be held on Saturday, September 2, 2023 from 11:00am-12:00pm at Appalachian Funeral Services with private graveside to follow. Pallbearers will be: Cecil Fisher, Virgil Houston, Randal Stevens, Ray Stevens, Trevor Sutton and Junior Williamson.


Because of special family members, Jessie held a special place in her heart for the Autism Society and donated regularly. To honor her, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to The Autism Society of NC.



By Phone: 919-865-5056

By Mail: Autism Society of North Carolina

               5121 Kingdom Way, Suite 100

               Raleigh, NC 27607

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jessie Elders Ray, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 2, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Appalachian Funeral Services

165 Skyland Drive, Sylva, NC 28779

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