Ray Sosebee, 85: Loved his country, church, community, family

Very few things could match the passion Ray Sosebee had for his country, his church, his community and his family. His life revolved around these things, and he exemplified their importance by doing everything he could for each of them.

Sosebee joined the U.S. Navy in 1948 and headed out to see action in the Korean War. His heart was full of love and pride for his country, feelings he had carried his entire life, said his wife, Jimmie Mae McConnell Sosebee.

“He was in the ROTC in high school and then he joined the Navy right after he graduated,” she said. “He was always very, very devoted to his country.”

In 1958, Sosebee and his wife joined Lawrenceville First Baptist Church, where he immediately became heavily involved in everything he could. Through his many years of attendance, he had served as chairman of the board of deacons, treasurer, trustee and Sunday school director. He even did his part as a singer in the church’s choir, said longtime friend Brenda Sue.

“The music was a very important part of his life, and he loved to sing in the church,” she said. “He always worked very hard, and he worked with other people to engage them too. He was just willing to help anybody in any way possible.”

Daniel Ray Sosebee Sr., of Grayson, died Wednesday from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85. His funeral is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in Grayson. A naval military honors ceremony will follow the service. Burial will immediately follow at the church’s cemetery, and Tom M. Wages Funeral Home in Lawrenceville is handling the arrangements.

Giving back to his community was always a priority to Sosebee, who was a “devoted community leader and businessman,” his wife said. He established Sosebee Auto Supply Company in Lawrenceville in 1958, and his hard work earned him the titles of both Gwinnett County and Georgia State Small Businessperson of the Year in 1991.

He was also an active member of the Lawrenceville Lions Club, through which he participated in several community service events and projects. He and his wife also worked closely with KidStuff-USA Inc., allowing the company to host its annual summer outing for autistic children at the lake in their backyard, Jimmie Sosebee said.

“We had the summer outings on our property for autistic children and their families,” she said. “We had them here for several years, and Ray really loved it.”

Despite his full schedule and busy life, Sosebee always made sure to put his family first. He never missed anything his children or grandchildren did, and he made sure to be present in their lives, his wife said.

“Our children and grandchildren were all active in sports, church and music,” she said. “From kindergarten to college, he never missed anything they were involved in. He always put his family first.”

In addition to his wife, Sosebee is survived by two sons, Dan and Jim Sosebee of Grayson; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.