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1932 Raymond 2022

Raymond L Nitcher

July 3, 1932 — November 7, 2022

Raymond Leith Nitcher, age 90, departed our world peacefully Monday evening, November 7, 2022 in Iola, Kansas. Ray was born on Sunday, July 3, 1932 upstairs in the home of Ray L and Buena Vista (Abshire) Nitcher in Quenemo, Kansas. He preceded his twin brother, Rowland Keith, by ten minutes. The twins came as a surprise to their parents who were expecting their fourth child. It is said the doctor normally charged $25 for a birth but gave a break to the Nitcher's only charging them $35 for two babies.

The young family of seven made several moves in Ray's young life moving to Pomona (still in Franklin County), then to Uniontown and Bronson (Bourbon County), finally going to Allen County living in LaHarpe and Carlyle, Kansas. This resulted in Ray enrolling in Iola High School where he would spend the remainder of teenage years until graduation with the Class of 1950. Along the way, he accepted Jesus as his Savior and was baptized by his father, Rev. Ray Nitcher.

Ray always held down a job while going to school. He credited Bill Burcham, meat manager at Self Service Grocery for teaching him not only the correct way to process fine cuts of meat but so much more...lessons about life. Bill provided a great example of customer service which Ray learned well and which influenced his success in sales later on in his life. Ray worked hard for Bill and Bill always rewarded him with a perfectly cooked steak on Saturday night after the grocery store closed.

Ray attended one semester of college at Iola Junior College. During that time, Leland Ulrich hired him to be his family's chauffeur on an extended family vacation back East. Although he was paid to serve them he also had the good fortune to enjoy the sites with the family. Ray enjoyed this time as he had never traveled outside the state of Kansas prior to this time. This nudged Ray to move from his home in Kansas. Once he did, he never returned to Kansas to live until 2020 when his health failed.

In 1951, Ray married Nedra Gilmore from Moran, Kansas. Ray joined the Army and the family moved to El Paso, Texas where he served as a chaplain's assistant. It was in El Paso that their son, Kemball Ray (Kem) was born in 1954. They also delivered a son, Craig, who died at birth. After Ray's honorable discharge from the Army he worked in sales for JC Penney. Before long, he went to work for Helena Rubenstein who was the first woman in the United States to introduce men's fragrance. Ray was one of an elite group who attended a meeting with Ms. Rubenstein as she was continuing to conduct business from her bedside in New York City.

In the mid-sixties, Ray, Nedra and Kem moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where Ray went to work for Dillard's Department Store in the men's department. Little Rock is home to Dillard's. While at Dillard's, Ray won numerous Pacesetter Awards for sales and was a 3-time Divisional Pacesetter. According to one of his co-workers and close friends, Ray's clients still ask for him to this day.

Ray developed macular degeneration which led to his retirement but did not end his love of working with people. He was a cancer survivor and knowing full well the fear and uncertainty cancer instills in people, he volunteered in the cancer unit at St Vincent's Hospital in Little Rock as long as he was able. Through the years as his vision failed, he would be approached by cancer survivors he had helped that would remember him with gratitude. Ray also volunteered at the Clinton Library. Career-wise, Ray was most proud of being chosen Volunteer of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006.

Ray was preceded in death by his beloved sons, Kem and Craig; the mother of his boys, Nedra Gilmore Nitcher; his parents, Ray and Buena Nitcher; his brother, Max Nitcher of Watsonville, CA; his sisters, Phyllis Carol Nitcher Shoaf, Southlake, TX and Mary Lea Nitcher Wright, Iola, KS.

He is survived by his brother, Rowland Keith Nitcher of Lubbock, Texas, many nieces and nephews and a host of wonderful friends.

Ray donated his body to Genesis in Memphis, Tennessee. A graveside memorial will be held in Iola, Kansas sometime next year after his travels with Genesis.

Condolences for the family may be left at .
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