The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 5, 2014

Ray "Frito-Ray" Birkinsha

JOPLIN, Mo. — Ray "Frito-Ray" Birkinsha, age 66, of Joplin, Mo., lost his battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer, on Jan. 2, 2014, at 5:32 pm. He was at home and surrounded by several loving friends, his wife Sherry and son Kyle.

Ray was born on March 17, 1947, in Long Beach, Calif., to Lyle and Zola (Hatfield) Birkinsha. They moved to Galena, Kan., in 1957, where Ray attended school and graduated with the class of 1965. He worked at Capps IGA store in Galena during his high school years and was a member of the National Guard from 1966 to 1972. Ray worked for H&W, Dolly Madison, and was employed with Frito-Lay from March 1979 through April 2009.

He married the love of his life, Sherry King, on March 23, 1985. They were married on Ray's parent's anniversary so they could share their special day with them.

Ray was instantly blessed by gaining a son, Chad Levi King, and in 1986, was blessed with another son, Kyle Ray Birkinsha.

He always talked about Sunday drives with his Dad to look at cars. From a very young age he could tell you the make and model of a car by looking at it and sometimes just by hearing it. Ray had a passion for Chevrolet's, including his 51' and a 55' Chevy Bel-Air. He enjoyed going to cruise nights and car shows. He also bowled in the Joplin and Galena area most of his life, especially in the Tuesday night men's league until he became ill in 2012.

Ray is survived by his wife, Sherry; two sons, Kyle Birkinsha and Chad King; a sister, Sandy Rosser and husband, Denny, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; an aunt, Lois Schwebke, of Milwaukee, Wisc.; three wonderful grandchildren, Levi, Jasmine and Brooklyn King; a sister-in-law, Kathy Case and husband, Richard, of Oronogo, Mo.; a special addition to their family Jim Jones, his wife, Kathy and Jim's mother, Louise, of Leesburg, Fla.; several nieces and nephews; a host of cousins, a group of very close friends who have been there daily and four special children in his life, Averi, Allie, Taylor, Cole and Caleb. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lyle and Zola Birkinsha; a cousin, Jerry Birkinsha; and three aunts, Helen Neeley, Judy Martin, and Annibel Millard.

A special thank you to Dr. Keir Neighmond and his nurse April, the Freeman Cancer Center, Dr. Alan Weston, Dr. Timothy Medcalf, The Dr.'s and staff of Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. and Omega Health Care, especially Mark, for all of the outstanding care.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. at Joplin Family Worship Center. Pastor Dan Wermuth and Chad King will officiate, with Frito-Lay employees, Chuck Elam, Doug Scott, John Whetzel, Mike Capps, Rick Crawford and Shannon Elder, serving as pallbearers and Gary Burch, Lloyd King, Doug Crane and Floyd Baker, as honorary pallbearers. Interment will follow at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive family and friends on Friday, January 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mason-Woodard Mortuary.

Ray and the family have requested that anyone with a classic car to please bring them to be part of the procession to the cemetery directly behind the family limousine. A line for those cars will start around the outer edges of the parking lot before the service.

Donations may be made to Joplin Family Worship Center in the name of Frito-Ray.

"Remember me in the days ahead for only the forgotten are really dead.

 I want to live; to stay alive so help my memory survive.

Talk of me when you visit friends if there is trouble, make amends.

And keep new memories clean and sweet so they are pleasant to repeat.

So think of me and feel my love and I'll send memories from above."

Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary and Crematory.

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