Family and Friends Gathering
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, September 17, 2021
Whitley Memorial Funeral Home
330 N. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Tabernacle Church of God in Christ
3210 Virginia Ave.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
Obituary of Milton Ray Smith, Sr.
Milton Ray Smith, Sr., peacefully passed away early Friday morning, September 3, 2021 at his residence and surrounded by his family. Milton was born on August 29, 1952, in West Helena, Arkansas, to the late Elder Floyd B. Smith, Sr., and Mother Mary V. Smith where he was the second of nine children. Eventually, the family relocated to Kalamazoo, MI where Milton attended Kalamazoo Public Schools and graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, in 1969. After graduation, Milton worked at Gibson Guitar Plant for a few years…then stumbled upon a job at Bob Evans Restaurant as a Line Cook, where he was gainfully employed for 38 years, retiring in November, 2019. Milton was a faithful and dedicated worker who never missed one day of work nor was he ever tardy! He made it his mission to get to work…by car, bike, or even walking. He always made it on time and received many accolades and gifts from the company. Milton met Patricia “Pat” Haymon and on August 30, 1980 they became man and wife. To this union, three sons, Milton Ray, Jr., Preston Dernard and Derek Lee, were born. Milton loved his family and was a great example of fatherhood to them. He imparted in them to be resilient and personable young men, and showed them how to respect everyone, regardless of any differences or injustices. He demonstrated how to take care of their mother, their wives, children, family and significant others. He made sure that his family was safe and well cared for and presented them with an honest work ethic. He enjoyed watching the Detroit Lions games with his sons, always looking for them to do better “the next time”. Milton was a man who made the decision to follow Christ and believed in prayer. He was a member of St. James Church of God in Christ, Kalamazoo MI, under the leadership of his uncle, the late Superintendent Levarn Smith, Sr.. He was a faithful member who often sat on the front row, and would jump so high when the Spirit would get hold of him. He also was known for playing the maracas with the choir and in the congregation. In 2011, he and his family were led to join Bethel Star Church of God in Christ, Kalamazoo, MI under the leadership of Pastor Hermon Phillips. It is here where he was installed and served in the capacity of Deacon. Deacon Milton Smith took this responsibility seriously. Later, Deacon Milton and his wife became members of Faith Life Church, in Parchment, MI. under the leadership of Pastor Jerwan Jones. Here, he served as an Usher and Greeter. He also served as security and worked at the church’s food bank. He also helped prepare for the weekly Sunday breakfast. Milton could always be counted on to make sure a job was complete, by also serving on the clean-up committee. Milton served faithfully in the church as much and as often as he could. Milton was a very humble man that loved people. His smile was wide and the laugh was loud and infectious. He was an active man, who, for years, would walk several miles daily, throughout various parts of the city. He was ecstatic once his doctor stated he would be able to get back to his walking. He was able to exercise for a brief time again, until his health declined. Milton was the family cook, often manning the grills at family functions and get-togethers. He was known as the “Grillmaster” who would cook for others, but was also content in having a Hungry Man TV Dinner at home. He loved listening to music, often going to the library to borrow and make his own music cds to play. Milton loved his family. Besides introducing his sons and nephews to the “crucial”, every Thursday, until her passing, Milton would take his laundry to his mother’s home to wash. This was a tradition that had gone on for years. They both looked forward to Thursdays, when they could spend time together, and he could take her to her appointments and other outings. He doted on his grandchildren, Brekken Henry, Milton Ray, III and Zayden Amir. He would light up when they would come to visit. He was a pivitol father figure to his neices and nephews and a big brother to his loving in-laws. Milton will be remembered fondly by his wife of 41 years, Patricia, his sons, Milton, Jr. (Breaunna), Preston (Patrice), and Derek (Jaquena), three grandsons; four brothers, Floyd “Brady” (Charlotte), of Stockbridge, GA, Dornell, of Kalamazoo, MI, James Anthony of Caledonia, MI and Timothy Jerome (Teresa) of Battle Creek, MI; two sisters, Vivian Delores and Angela Marie (Rodney), all of Kalamazoo; several neices and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins, and friends; his in-loves, Reverend Curtis and Reverend Dr. Pamela Robinson, Kalamazoo, MI, Gerald (Lynn) Haymon, Kentwood, MI, Gregory (Patti) Haymon, Grenada Hills, CA and Kenneth Haymon of Grand Rapids, MI.