Ray Barefoot was the most mentally tough man that I encountered but he eventually succumbed to the ravages that so many have experienced through Covid on August 31st. He was born in Dunn on November 14th, 1943 and was the last of 5 children. In the interim, he lost his Mother at 12. During that time, his father was transitioning out of farming and into renting out farmland and opened a country store. My Dad would spend a typical day feeding livestock, driving a school bus, going to school, driving the bus in the afternoon, putting on work clothes, tending to the store, doing homework between customers, feeding livestock again, close the store and go through the same process the next day. It was a pretty cumbersome existence. He wouldn’t let me work a W2 job until I was 18 because he wanted me to experience what he never had, a childhood. He admitted he could be tough but had compassion too. He graduated from Dunn High School, married and was drafted by the Army. He never discussed this but after 3 months of security clearances, he was assigned to the Atomic division/unit in New Mexico. He loved the Albuquerque area and would have stayed In the military because he liked the work and the people/climate were great. Also, no one transferred out of this division because the work was clandestine. Unfortunately, several troops were lost in battles in Vietnam and they needed reinforcements right away. He originally was assigned to an Infantry unit but a friend of his Dad’s from Benson saw him there and got him assigned to his MP unit. Imagine the chances of that happening of meeting someone from Benson several thousand miles away but God looked out for him. The Sergeant told him that survival wasn’t great in his unit. Out of 30 new soldiers entering that detail, 15 survived. He saw plenty of hairy moments and received a Bronze Star nomination. He served a 13 month tour in Vietnam and went from 185 pounds down to 145 during that period. They offered him a promotion to Sergeant a week before he was released. He joked that they could promote to a him a General and he was still leaving. He was enough of a friend that he got to be friends with another NC native from Lumberton that wanted to be a lifer and my Dad recommended him for the promotion. His friend got it and was eternally grateful. That’s a lot of things to do in 22 months but he was thankful to be coming home and to be alive. He was so appreciative that I was born exactly 9 months later. After that, he worked for Sir Walter Chevrolet for several years. He realized the work was unfulfilling and there was more that he could/wanted to do. He went to work for Siemens in Wendell. He took a pay cut but worked hard and soon got promoted to an Engineer. He was in charge of coordinating millions of parts to build power control units at large manufacturing facilities or rural communities. He eventually moved on to John Deere doing similar work and said that was the best job he ever had. Nice crescendo to a career. I think he would want to be remembered for 4 things: Faith, family, work and friends. His motto was always, if you’re going to do something, do it right. He talked it but more importantly, he walked it. Love you Dad!
Survivors of Mr. Barefoot include his son; Michael Barefoot of Clayton, grandson: William Barefoot, sisters; Lola Ivey of Erwin, Ella Ivey of Dunn,
Mr. Barefoot was preceded in death by his parents; William and Georgia Barefoot, brother; Roland Barefoot, sister; Nola Barefoot
The family will receive friends Friday, September 3, 2021 from 1:00-2:15 p.m. at West & Dunn Funeral home in Benson, NC. West & Dunn respectfully requires masks to be worn inside their building. Funeral service will follow the visitation at the funeral home at 2:30 p.m. and interment will be at Devotional Gardens in Dunn, North Carolina.
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