Cover photo for Catherine Ann Ray's Obituary

Catherine Ann Ray

January 25, 1965 — November 25, 2021

Paw Paw

Catherine (Cathy) Ann Ray, postulant of the Episcopal church and horse enthusiast, passed away in her home in Paw Paw, MI on November 25, 2021 of unexpected health issues.  She was 56 years old.

A lifelong lover of horses, Cathy was born in 1965 to parents Robert (Bob) and Joyce Ray.  One of her earliest memories was riding in the car with her family, waving at the horses as she passed by and greeting them “Hi Horsey, Hi Horsey”. She has loved them since the very beginning.  She bought her own horse as soon as she could, and has had one ever since.  For years, Cathy taught students how to ride, including her nieces Caitlin and Megan.  She even became barn manager for the barn where she boarded her horse.  She also competed and won several awards and ribbons, which she gifted to her nieces so they could pretend that they had won amazing things too.

After graduating from Kalamazoo College with a full-ride scholarship and a degree in biology, she went into research at Upjohn.  She also worked part-time as a shift supervisor for the crisis intervention hotline at Gryphon Place. Although she enjoyed her time at Upjohn and Gryphon Place, she felt a personal calling from God to become a priest for the Episcopal church. However, as destiny would have it, her aspiration was put on pause because she developed bipolar disorder while in Seminary.  Her experiences with living and coping with Bipolar drove Cathy to become an outspoken advocate for anyone with mental illness or emotional trauma.  While learning to navigate through the changes that life brought her, Cathy studied Native American teachings. Learning Native ways expanded her understanding of God in all creation and peoples. She felt this was a gift without price. This break from seminary allowed her to return to her other true love, horses. Cathy spent her time working with them, teaching riding, and sharing how horses could help people emotionally, physically and spiritually.

She loved God and her church community and was beloved by her parish members. Cathy was heavily involved with St. Mark’s Parish, including the choir, outreach and The Vestry.  After a 20-year break, she was finally able to return to seminary. As a second-year seminarian, Cathy was required to participate in two internships, one at St. Augustine’s in Benton Harbor, and one at Bronson Hospital.  For the past few months, she has spoken repeatedly of how enjoyable and gratifying she found her work as an Intern Chaplain at Bronson Hospital. She also enjoyed writing homilies for St. Augustine’s.  Channeling her own personal journey and intimate life experiences, Cathy was able to help families navigate their own journey through pain and sorrow. Bronson hospital loved her so much, they offered her a full-time Chaplain position in their year-long Clinical Pastoral Education Residency program. Cathy’s wish was to one day return to her home parish and become their priest while working at the hospital as well.  She had stated “Praying, preaching, teaching but mostly helping to create a space for the Holy Spirit to move the hearts of people to a closer relationship with God and each other.  All of this is part of my call”.  And she surely succeeded in answering it.

Cathy considered herself a joy seeker and spiritual encourager.  She had many other endeavors as well, such as helping build homes for indigenous communities and performing several wedding ceremonies including that of her brother Tom to his wife Czarina.   She also enjoyed helping her family. Whatever it was, Cathy poured her heart into every situation. Whether you listened to her inspired homily or simply engaged in conversation, Cathy offered gentle yet powerful insight and meaning to life, that makes one feel understood, seen, and loved without conditions. Cathy’s reassuring voice captured the hearts of many.  Coincidentally, as she used her voice to inspire others, during her spare time, Cathy enjoyed watching “The Voice” in part for the singing, but also because she had the biggest crush on John Legend.  Oh yeah!

Cathy found tremendous joy and abundance in the simplest things, devoted her creativity and energy in the service of others, and “lived life imperfectly with such great delight.”  She will be dearly missed by all.

Cathy is survived by her parents Bob and Joyce Ray, her twin sister Sandy and Sandy’s husband Jim, and her brothers Ron and Tom and Tom’s wife Czarina, as well as her nieces Caitlin and Megan, her beloved horse Corwin, her two dear companion cats Truman and Takota, and many extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:

Pine Ridge: with “In memory of Catherine Ray” on the memo line.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church: 412 Cedar St., Paw Paw, MI 49079. Checks should be written to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church with “In Memory of Catherine Ray” on the memo line.

The Cheff Center: 8450 North 43rd St, Augusta, MI, 49012. Support Cheff — Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center (, with “In memory of Catherine Ray” on the memo line

Visitation will be from 4-8 pm, Friday December 3 at Adams’s Funeral Home: 502 W Michigan Ave., Paw Paw Michigan, 49079.

The church visitation will be 10-11 am, followed by the service at 11am on Saturday December 4 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church: 412 Cedar St., Paw Paw, MI, 49079.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, December 4, 2021

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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St. Mark s Episcopal Church (Cedar St)


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Funeral Service

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

St. Mark s Episcopal Church (Cedar St)


*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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