NEWTON, N.C. - Ray Von Caldwell, 89, of Newton passed away on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at Abernethy Laurels.
Those left to cherish his memories include his daughter Stephanie Kale and husband Mark; son, Bruce Caldwell and his wife Ann; grandson, Logan Kale and his wife Lauren; grandson, Taylor Kale and wife Cathy; grandson, William Kale; granddaughters, Julie and Olivia Caldwell; great-grandchildren Lexi, Lily, Lincoln, Levi, Clayton and Knox Kale. He is also survived by his sister, Jo Hoyle.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Linda Caldwell and his parents, L. Ray and Lilliard Caldwell.
Ray Von graduated from Balls Creek High School and then got an Associate’s Degree from Mars Hill College. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College and later a Master’s Degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. He taught at Rock Springs High School and Maiden High School, where he was named the NC Biology Teacher of the Year in 1965. He finished his teaching career at Central Piedmont Community College, where he taught for over 30 years. He served in the U.S. Army - something he was very proud of!
Ray Von was a member of Mt. Ruhama Baptist Church, where he was the Music Director for over 38 years, served as a deacon, and served on various committees. He loved music and was a part of the Happy Five Quartet when he was younger. He also directed the music at Balls Creek Campground for many years. He was a charter member of the Balls Creek Lions Club and continued to be a member until his death. Ray Von served on the Catawba County Planning Board for 44 years and loved being able to serve the community in which he grew up. In 1987, he received the coveted “Order of the Longleaf Pine” Award – the highest award a civilian can get in North Carolina. He had a quiet passion for serving others.
In the 1960’s, Ray Von traced his family roots and traveled all over to find the Caldwell family history. He published James Caldwell and His Descendants, a book that has been used by countless people to find their family roots. He also mapped and recorded all the graves in Mt. Ruhama Baptist Church’s Cemetery, and published this as a gift to the church.
Even though Ray Von loved the church-work, teaching, and public service, his two greatest passions were his family and farming. He loved to spend time with his children and especially with his grandchildren around the farm. He taught about stewardship of the land, conservation, nature, and especially how to manage resources. He was a man of deep faith in God, and taught his family through his example. He lived the greatest commandments – “To Love God and Love Others!” Even though Ray Von is not physically here, his legacy will live on for generations through the service he gave and the example he was.
A celebration of life service will be held Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at the Mount Ruhama Baptist Church Cemetery at 4 p.m. The body will lie in state from 1-3 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Mt. Ruhama Baptist Church Building Fund.
Visit www.burkemortuary.com to register your condolences.
Burke Mortuary & Crematory of Newton, N.C. is serving the Caldwell family.