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Glenn Ray Cantrell, 84

Glenn Ray Cantrell, 84

Glenn Ray Cantrell, community leader, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away at Life Care Center on May 17, 2014 at the age of 84 after a period of declining health.

Ray was born in Reidsville to John Glenn and Lucy Talley Cantrell. After service in the Army, he was named manager of the Chamber of Commerce in Ahoskie. In 1960, Ray joined the Greater Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce where he was the Executive Vice President until his retirement in 2000.

When he joined the Chamber, there were 3 industries and the county had no industrial parks. The annual budget for the Chamber was $20,000 and was supported by 210 members. Under his leadership, he persuaded more than 40 industries to locate plants in Henderson County, including Steelecase, Eaton Corporation, Ralph Wilson Plastics and Rockwell International.

He was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Hendersonville, which included the transition to a serpentine Main Street. Upon his retirement, the G. Ray Cantrell Service Award was established by the Chamber to honor Ray and to recognize an individual's service to the community.

Ray loved his community and worked tirelessly to maintain a balanced growth in Henderson County – balance between industry, agriculture, tourism and retirees. He had a passion for education, serving on the Hendersonville City Schools Board of Education for several years. Ray was Past President of both the NC Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the NC Industrial Developers Association and past board member for Advantage West. In 1978, he was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to the NC Human Resources and Development Board. He served as executive secretary of the NC Apple Festival for most of the 40 years he worked for the Chamber.

He was a member of Kedron Lodge #387 AF&AM. He was a recipient of the Service to Mankind Award and was a past recipient of the "Possum of the Year Award" from the Possum Hollow Club. He was a founding member of the Four Seasons Golf Club and a active member of Hendersonville Country Club. Ray was also a very active member of First United Methodist Church Hendersonville and Roy Johnson Sunday School class before his health declined.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Libby Smith Cantrell, and a sister, Virginia Cantrell Citty.

He is survived by his wife, Priscilla Cantrell, a son, John Cantrell, of Kingsport, TN and wife, Cindy; step son, Tony Hartle and wife, Linda of Mocksville, NC ; grandchildren Nicholas and Peyton Cantrell, both of Kingsport, TN.

Memorial services will be 11 Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at First United Methodist Church with the Reverend Dan Martin officiating. Masonic Rites will be conducted by Kedron Lodge #387 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at Thos. Shepherd & Son. The family will receive friends at The Inn on Church on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

The family wishes to thank the staff at The Life Care Center of Hendersonville and Dr. James J. Caserio and his staff for the compassionate care they provided.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Hendersonville PO Box 1460 Hendersonville, NC 28793 or Hendersonville Rescue Mission 639 Maple St. Hendersonville, NC 28792.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.