Ray Edward Midkiff “Pop” (Uncle Ray), age 91, passed away unexpectedly at Washington Adventist Hospital, surrounded by his family on Thursday, July 18, 2019. He was born on March 2, 1928 in Hillsville, VA to William “Oscar” and Elva Mae (Alderman) Midkiff. He was the fifth of eight children that lived humbly in the Blue Ridge Mountains he called “down home”.
At age 18, he moved to Maryland and ended up working for Immer Drywall Company for 45 years. He met Mary Leah Stinchcomb and married her on September 16, 1950. They settled down on Rosedale Lane in Beltsville along with three of his brothers and their families. After being separated as children, the brothers wanted to raise their families together.
Pop and Mary had three sons Ray, Donny and Ronny plus numerous “adopted” sons, daughters and grandchildren. Pop has never met a stranger and if you visited, you would be sure to leave with a full belly, produce from his garden and a hit of “moonshine”. His boys, his family, and his garden were his pride and joy. He would give pointers to anyone he knew and was super proud of his big, red perfect tomatoes.
In addition to gardening, Pop was passionate about his bluegrass music. He was the leader of “The Stringbusters” for years. He could play any instrument you put in his hands and every occasion was an opportunity for him to play. He and the band played at many nursing homes and local establishments.
He was an amazing wood worker and most of his family and friends have a piece of his handiwork – from cradles, to tables, to candy dispensers and old-time puzzles that left us all baffled for hours! His pranks, stories, and infectious personality kept everyone around him in stitches. He is a great man who leaves a hole in the hearts of all who love him.
Left to remember him are his children-Ray (Bea), Donny (best friend Laura), and Ronny (best friend Donna), his grandchildren-Jenny (Mike), Donny (Holly), Becky (Joe), and Lori, his great grandchildren-Rachel, Sarah, Brock, Clayton, Taylor, Zoey, Zack and Luke, his brother Grant, his niece Elva, other nieces, nephews, cousins and so many more “adopted” children,
grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ready to welcome him home are his beloved wife Mary, “daughter” Vanessa, his mom and dad, his brothers-Bill, Cecil, and Carlos and his
sisters-Arlie, Bessie, and Ruby.
Pop will be remembered as an amazing, loving, kind, funny man who would give you the shirt off his back and the last crops in his garden. He loved fishing, eating crabs, playing music, and his family. He will be missed by his “darlins”.
Appalachia Service Project
4523 Bristol Highway, Johnson City TN 37601