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'Spunky' Charlotte woman dies at 108. She lived off of Beatties Ford Road for over 70 years

Ira Belle Ray enjoyed cooking, reading the Bible, growing her own food, gardening, taking power walks and being a spunky jokester.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of the oldest living members of Charlotte has just passed away at the age of 108.

Ira Belle Ray died on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. She was born Oct. 4, 1913, in Matthews, North Carolina, to the late Martha Ann Robinson. According to her great-granddaughter, Belle Ray lived off of Beatties Ford Road on Irie Street since 1952. 

Back in 2016, Ray was honored by President Obama for her 103rd birthday. He sent her a letter that wished her a happy birthday.

"We are delighted to send our belated warm wishes on this milestone," the Obamas write in the letter. "Your story is an integral part of the American narrative, and you have witnessed the best of what our Nation can accomplish when we work together in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow. We hope you were able to enjoy the occasion, and we wish you all the best."

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Credit: Danyelle Ray
Copy of the letter former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama sent to Ms. Ira Bell Ray in 2016 in honor of her 103rd birthday.

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According to her online obituary, Ray joined St Paul Baptist Church in 1950. She was a part of the adult choir and a faithful member of her church. 

Her obituary continued on to say that she enjoyed cooking, reading the Bible, growing her own food, gardening, taking power walks and being a spunky jokester. Her family said she loved to dress up, look fashionable and travel. Ray was also known for her famous creamed corn and collard greens that she and her husband grew in their very own garden. 

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"Ira will be remembered as being an upright mother, teaching valuable lessons, encouraging her children to pursue a full education and continually reminding them to make the most out of their lives," her obituary read. 

Funeral Services will be held here in Charlotte at St Paul Baptist Church Saturday at 12 p.m. Viewing will begin at 11 a.m. 

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