::Services Set For Jason Ray, UNC Mascot
From Staff And Wire Reports
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
CHAPEL HILL -- Funeral services for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student Jason Ray who played the Ramses mascot for the last three years have been announced.
Sadly, the popular and outgoing Ray died from injuries received last Friday when he was struck by a car in New Jersey while walking back to this hotel. He was in town for the NCAA tournament where UNC was playing Friday and Sunday night.
"My heart goes out to Jason's family," commented Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams in a university statement released to the press. "He was an engaging young man and a friend to a number of our players and managers. They tell me he was a wonderful person. Obviously our team is disappointed with the outcome of Sunday's game, but that pales greatly in comparison with the loss the Ray family is dealing with today. We ask everyone to remember Jason and his family in their prayers."
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
The family will hold a viewing and visitation from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at Concord First Assembly in Concord, N.C.
The funeral service is Saturday at 11 a.m. also at Concord First Assembly.
The church is located at 150 Warren C. Coleman Boulevard in Concord, N.C.
28027. The phone number is 704-793-4740.
Flowers may be sent to the church, but the family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Jason Kendall Ray Memorial Fund, Concord Christian Church, 3101 Davidson Highway, Concord, N.C. 28027.
Directions to Concord First Assembly
First Assembly is located in Concord at 150 Warren C. Coleman Blvd., at the intersection of Concord Parkway, also known as Highway 29. The church is located 5 miles north of Lowes Motor Speedway.
Coming from Charlotte:
Take I-85 north to exit 49 near Concord Mills and turn right off the exit ramp on to Speedway Boulevard. Go to the end of Speedway Boulevard. And take a left onto Highway 29 North. Go approximately five (5) miles and take a right onto Cabarrus Avenue at the stoplight beside Ben Mynatt Chevrolet.
Turn left at the second traffic light onto Warren C. Coleman Boulevard. You will see First Assembly and the main entrance on the right, beside a fire station.
Coming from Salisbury or Greensboro:
Take I-85 South to exit 58, & take the Concord exit. This will put you on Highway 29 South, which is the Concord Parkway. Go approximately 3 12 miles.
You will see First Assembly, a large brown brick building on your left. Bear left at the traffic light then turn left into the church¹s main entrance between the church and the Concord fire station.
Family And Fans Mourn Ray
Jason Kendall Ray, 21, died on Monday, March 26th at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
Ray, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was a member of UNC's cheerleading squad and was injured when he was hit by an automobile when he was walking back to his hotel in Fort Lee, New Jersey, on Friday, March 23.
According to UNC, he was pronounced dead by doctors at 8:38am on Monday.
"Jason believed in organ donation and in the sharing of the gift of life," his brother Allen Ray said in a statement through UNC. "His organs will be donated to the Sharing Network of New Jersey. We hope that Jason's gift will be able to help up to 50 people in critical need of transplant."
Ray was in New Jersey to perform as the Tar Heels' mascot, Rameses, in the NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Friday and Sunday. UNC won their game on Friday night against USC but lost against Georgetown on Sunday. For many, the death of Ray brought a tragic conclusion to the Tarheel basketball season as he will be missed greatly by family, friends, and fans alike.
Dozens of family and friends gathered at the hospital's Surgical Intensive Care Unit since the accident, says UNC.
"Our family would like to thank the staff at Hackensack University Medical Center for the compassionate and professional care they provided," said Jason's brother, Allen, speaking on behalf of the family through UNC.
"They made this terrible experience as tolerable as possible and gave solace to our family. We would also like to thank the UNC athletic department. Jason was a member of their family and they extended their support to us and provided support to our family as we have dealt with this terrible loss."
"Jason was a wonderful son, brother and friend. He leaves behind a legacy of friendship, laughter, excitement for life and a genuine love for all the people he touched during his all-too-short life."
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Jason Kendall Ray Memorial Fund, Concord Christian Church, 3101 Davidson Highway, Concord, NC 28027.
"This is a devastating loss to the Ray family and our University community," said UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour in a statement to the media. "Jason had many talents. Over the last several days, we have heard from so many people who said Jason went above the call of duty to brighten their days and make their child smile and laugh. He may have performed in the anonymity that comes with playing the mascot, but his life has had an overt and lasting impact on the people whose lives he touched. Our hearts and prayers again go out to his family and friends in this time of extraordinary grief."
Jason was a business administration major with a concentration in marketing at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School and was working toward a minor in religious studies. He had played the Ram mascot for the past three seasons.
"Jason gave Rameses an energy that was unique," says UNC cheerleading coach Brown Walters. "He embodied all of the qualities you would want in a team member. He was a tremendous ambassador of the University of North Carolina and that spirit will live on forever. The Carolina Spirit Program has lost a member of our family and he will be deeply missed."
"The loss of Jason Ray will be felt by all of us who love and care about Carolina," added Chancellor James Moeser in a statement to the media. "His legacy will be one of caring and joy, of hard work and enthusiasm for life. Susan and I join his friends, classmates, teammates and instructors, people across the campus and far beyond Chapel Hill in wishing his family comfort during this time of profound loss." ::