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Ray Wade Bowles

July 26, 1954 ~ June 28, 2020 (age 65)


Ray Wade Bowles was born July 26, 1954 in Lewis Gale Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia to Edwin Wade and Bonnie Barlow Bowles.  Ray passed on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at Southside Regional Medical Center due to heart failure after a brief illness.  Ray moved from Roanoke to Colonial Heights at the age of 8 where he attended Colonial Heights Public Schools and graduated in 1973.

Ray was an employee for Reynolds Metals, Plant 44 for 32 years.  One of his proudest moments was being selected as the first blue collar Chairman of the Board for Reymet Federal Credit Union.  Ray was a member of Petersburg Jaycees, Life member of the Virginia Jaycees, and a Jaycees’ Virginia Gentleman.  Ray was a member, past president, and Life Member of the Colonial Heights Optimists Club. Ray was a member of the Colonial Heights Moose Lodge #1783 and Hopewell Moose Lodge $#1472, and a Moose Legionnaire of Old Dominion #148; and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles #882 of Petersburg.  Ray was also a member and 30 year veteran of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union #10. 

Ray was well known as “Coach” for recreational baseball and football for almost 20 years.  Two of his favorite things to do were playing Santa for Civic and private organizations and cooking Thanksgiving dinner at his home church, Highland United Methodist.  Ray enjoyed helping everyone, working in his garden and watching over his neighbors.  He loved his family, many friends and never met a stranger.  Ray was also an avid, accomplished hunter and fisherman, former member of Woodfin Hunt Club in Surry and Old Farm Hunt Club in Skippers, Virginia.

Ray is survived by his wife, Debra Cheeley Bowles; his children, Christopher Ray, Sheree Marie and Richard Wade Bowles.  He was blessed with additional children that stepped into his life, Vickie Marie Brewer, Phyllis Lee Brewer Fox (Carlton “Bubba”) and Laura Brewer Walker (Jacob “Tiny”).  The apples of his eye, his grandchildren, Cameron Wade Bowles, Zaden Walker, Rebecca Grace Branch, Renee Elizabeth and Elyse Marie Fox and Rachel Elizabeth Walker.  He is also survived by his brothers, William Mark Bowles (Kathy) of Chesapeake and Rodger Dee Bowles (Julie) of Colonial Heights; former spouse, Julie Smith Kirby (Mark) and brother-in-law and friend, Taz Cheeley.  A special nephew and his family, Ryan Blake Cheeley in Kingsland, Georgia.  He will be remembered by very special friends, Bill Johnson, Buzz Kohan, Bubba Ross, Steve Ingram and Gerald Mann.  He will also be remembered by many family and friends that he loved and enjoyed spending time with.  He had two four-legged girls, he’s never admitted to spoiling, Percy Shore and Daisey River.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 2, 2020 at Blandford Cemetery, 319 S. Crater Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23803 with the Reverend Joe Carson officiating.  His remains will rest from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory, 2033 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834. Condolences may be registered at



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Remains will rest
July 1, 2020

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
E. Alvin Small Funeral Home, Colonial Heights Chapel
2033 Boulevard
Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Graveside Service
July 2, 2020

11:00 AM
Blandford Cemetery
319 S. Crater Road
Petersburg, VA 23803

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