Family remembers man who loved his daughter; enjoyed riding his motorcycle

James Ray poses for a photo dated 2017 on his motorcycle. Photo used with family permission.

Loved ones asking for public’s help paying for final expenses

JONESBORO, Ark. – James Ray loved the feel of riding his motorcycle, loved to play video games, and most of all, loved spending time with his daughter.

Ray, 20, tragically passed away in a traffic accident Monday afternoon in Jonesboro. His family was left in shock, grief, and worry. Ray had a fiance, Linda Thompson. The couple are parents to a 2-year-old girl, McKenzi Faith Annette Ray. The void left by Ray’s loss is enormous to their family.

“…she (McKenzi Faith) doesn’t quite understand but she’s been saying, ‘Daddy’s bye bye on his bike,'” Thompson said. “Every time his phone rings, she says, ‘Daddy’s phone?'”

With no life insurance, funeral expenses are yet another worry on top of the mounting grief Ray’s loved ones are experiencing. Already struggling to cope with the emotions, Thompson also said she wasn’t sure how the family would be able to financially handle losing Ray.

“I don’t really know because right now, it’s just me and our roommate that I’ve been depending on the bills for, so far,” Thompson said. “I had to go to my landlord just to get rent delayed so we can get this paid for.”

Ray loved his daughter deeply, his sister Cheryl told NEA Report. When he wasn’t playing with her, his hobbies included playing games like Fortnite, Magic the Gathering and Guitar Hero – where he played bass guitar.

However, Ray would rather have had his grip on his motorcycle grips than a game controller. Riding two-wheels was something which appealed to him from an early age. His mother, Gloria Perdue, described how their family had bought him a scooter when he was only 6-years-old and he could barely wait to have fun on the new toy.

“I remember the first time he ever rode anything like a bike,” Perdue said. “It was an electric scooter. He was 6-years old and he wanted to take off with it. He just gunned it and it went into the front yard and flipped over some landscaping we had. And he got up and said, ‘See! I’m not hurt.’ He was fun-loving. He was so fun to be around. He was such a good kid.”

From an early age, Ray loved the thrill of riding. His family said he had just got his bike out of the shop about an hour before the accident. He was planning on getting a new motorcycle that day. It was a moment of personal joy Ray hoped to see but a horrible accident stole this moment from him, just as it took a beloved family member away from those who needed him most.

“He was my rock,” Perdue said. “He was my everything.”

Visitation for Ray is planned from 5 to 7 PM Friday at Roller Funeral Home. The funeral will be at 10 AM Saturday at Herman Cemetery.

With the family in mourning, they’re hopeful for the generosity of the public to help them. Funeral expenses are estimated to cost the family $7,000 and with no insurance coverage, it will have to be paid for out-of-pocket. But the family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money and has seen a glimmer of hope, in that over $1,400 has been donated as of this writing.

Please click here to visit the GoFundMe page.

Even if you can’t donate, please consider sharing this story so someone who may be able to can help.

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