Cover photo for COL (Ret.) James Ray Haynie's Obituary
COL (Ret.) James Ray Haynie Profile Photo

COL (Ret.) James Ray Haynie

February 11, 1945 — June 16, 2024


COL (Ret.) James Ray Haynie


COL (Ret.) James Ray Haynie, Northport Alabama, 79 passed away peacefully at his home Sunday, June 16th, 2024, in Northport, Alabama surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Brenda Fleenor Haynie and children Kimberly Mitchell (Michael) and son James Brandon Haynie (Sanja), and two grandchildren, Collin Mitchell, and Henry Haynie.

Ray was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 11, 1945, but soon moved to and was raised in Holt, Alabama. He was always a curious boy who possessed the eagerness to learn far beyond his meager upbringing. He was often described by his high school teachers as a bright and inquisitive student who excelled in multiple subjects. Not only did Ray shine in subjects such as history and chemistry, but he developed a talent early in life for woodworking as well as an interest in electronics. Ray had an inventor’s mind, he loved dreaming, designing, and building too many creations to list.

Unfortunately, early in his life, Ray could not focus all his time and attention on academics, he felt the unfair burden to work throughout his teenage years, and, therefore, trained as a welder to provide for himself and his younger siblings. Still, between work and school, Ray graduated with honors from Holt High School in 1963. College was not an immediate option after high school financially, so he enlisted into the Army. A year before he enlisted, in 1962, Ray was invited by his friends to a youth event at Holt Baptist Church where he met a pretty lady and his future wife, Brenda Fleenor.

Ray entered into military service in 1963 at Fort Polk, Louisiana and was later commissioned as an Army Officer in 1964 after the completion of Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA. Ray served for over 33 years as a part of the Alabama National Guard and the United States Army Reserve. Through his career he served with distinction as an Infantry Company Commander, a senior plans and operations office at the battalion, brigade Army Support Command and Army Division level. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel and served in the Army Reserve until his retirement in 1996. Over the course of his many years of service, the Army recognized him with many awards to include the Legion of Merit, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

Not only did he fulfill a successful military career, but he also worked simultaneously for 32 years in management at South Central Bell Telephone company from 1965 to 1997. In the middle of his career, Ray and Brenda started a family. Kim was born in 1967 and Brandon followed in 1970. Ray’s mission in life focused on creating a better life for his wife and children than he experienced growing up. His family commitment included taking young Brandon fishing and dove hunting, and vacations were split between the Smokies and the beach. Ray’s favorite trips always involved military battlefields and museums and he delighted that his children shared his love for History. He understood the value of an education and stressed that point to his children throughout their lives. He loved his wife dearly and always bragged to others about her creativity and artistic talents. He was equally proud of his children and praised their accomplishments in both academics and business. There is no question that Ray was over the moon that he had a son and son in law reach the rank of Brigadier General in their military careers. More recently, it gave him great joy to see his oldest grandson walk on stage and receive his college diploma from the University of Alabama.

In his retirement years one could find Brenda and Ray eating breakfast at Buddy’s, and they also enjoyed backwoods country roads excursions discovering new landmarks and BBQ shacks. They also loved traveling to Cades Cove and watching the Elk in North Carolina. At home Ray loved to tinker and would spend his time woodworking, repairing antique clocks and reading history books.

Ray courageously and valiantly fought a terrible, rare neurological disease known as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) in the last years of his life. He was brave all the way to the end because he was a man of enormous faith, and he loved the Lord with all his heart. Ray was a great soldier, wonderful friend, loving husband, and devoted father. Well done my good and faithful servant.

Colonel James Ray Haynie will be buried with full military honors Monday, June 24, 2024, at 12:30PM at the Alabama National Cemetery, 3133 Alabama HWY 119, Montevallo, Alabama 35115.

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Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, June 24, 2024

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Central time)

Alabama National Cemetery

3133 Hwy 119, Montevallo, AL 35115

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