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Tuesday, January 14, 2014 articles (index)
Dr. R. Ray Kearns

In memoriam

Dr. R. Ray Kearns

Dr. R. Ray Kearns was born August 31, 1925, in Arcadia, FL.

As the son of Army Col. And Mrs. Gilbert P. Kearns, he attended school in many states and graduated from Porter Military Academy, Charleston, SC, in 1943.

He had early ties to Beaufort with his mother’s family and spent his summers at the Sea Island Hotel, owned by his grandfather, N. M. Polk.

In January, 1944, Ray entered the Army taking his basic training at Camp Blanding, FL then continued his training as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, GA. He was sent overseas in November, 1944, as a member of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division in time for the Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded the first time.

He fought through France and participated in Operation Varsity, the combined 17th Airborne and British 6th Army Paratroopers and Gliders invasion of Germany over the Rhine River into Wesel, Germany, in March, 1945. He continued through the Ruhr Valley into Munich where he was wounded a second time.

He held two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Returning to the states in August, 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Jean, in New York City.

He attended Florida Southern, and then enrolled at Lincoln Chiropractic College in Indianapolis.

After graduation, he moved to Beaufort where he opened Kearns Chiropractic Clinic in December, 1949 and practiced for 60 years. He was a member of the SC Chiropractic Assoc. during which time he served on the Legislative Committee and the Board of Examiners for eight years.

In 1951, Ray joined Rotary and served as Secretary/ Treasurer and then Treasurer for fifty years. The club awarded him the Paul Harris Fellowship Award and recognized his 54 years of perfect attendance.

As a member of the Beaufort Jaycees, he held youth tennis clinics and worked to help start the first Beaufort Water Festival. He served as the 9th Commodore and remained on the festival’s Board of Directors thereafter.

Ray served as President of the Beaufort Outboard Motorboat Club and was a member of the Beaufort Power Squadron.

For four years, he was on City Council where he held the position of Police Commissioner and was named a Special Deputy by Sheriff Ed McTeer. He served as Magistrate and as Assistant City Judge under Judge James Thomas.

He was also chairman of a March of Dimes Campaign, was a life member of Harmony Lodge #22 of the Masons and honored for over 40 years of faithful service as an usher and a member of the Baptist Church of Beaufort.

An avid sportsman, Ray enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, boating, water skiing, golf, tennis and piloting his private plane.

He was a star athlete in high school, excelling in baseball and football. Later, he and his wife enjoyed 20 years of motorcycling and their membership in the Goldwing Road Riders Association.

Ray is survived by his wife, Jean, of 68 years, his three children, Connie Tootle (Kenny), Ray Kearns, Jr. (Cheryl), and Holly Lambert (Dan), nine grandchildren, Lynn Tootle (Vanessa), Caroline Tootle Hayden (Sean), Douglas Tootle, Christian Tootle, Paul Kearns, Shaina Kearns, Sean Kearns, Brackin Lambert and Grayson Lambert and eight great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and close family friends.

Memorials may be made to Honor Flight Savannah, PO Box 60176, Savannah, GA 31420 or the Baptist Church of Beaufort, PO Box 879, Beaufort, SC 29901.

The family received friends from 3:00-5:00 PM Sunday, January 5th at Anderson Funeral Home following with Masonic Rites. Services were held at The Baptist Church of Beaufort, Monday, January 6th at 11:00 AM with a burial service following at The New Cemetery at the Parish church of St. Helena.

Editor’s note: The Beaufort Tribune undertakes to publish memorial tributes to people who pass away leaving a substantial positive mark on our community. These memorial tributes are almost always written by family members of the deceased and are shared with the community to keep alive the memory of loved ones.

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