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Welcome to the memorial page for

E. Ray Shinabery

February 11, 1928 ~ August 11, 2017 (age 89)
E. Ray Shinabery

89, of Bluffton, Ohio, died shortly before midnight on Friday, Aug. 11, at Mennonite Memorial Home. His family spent round-the-clock hours with him in the last two weeks of his life, including staying by his bedside and sleeping in his room to attend to his needs.

Ray was born in Lima on Feb. 22, 1928, to E. Ray and Ruth Shinabery, at the hospital where Lima Senior High School now stands. After being graduated in 1946 from Lima South High School, he attended The Ohio State University in Columbus. He worked various jobs to earn tuition, including for the railroad in Lima. As a member of the OSU marching band, more commonly known as The Best Damn Band In The Land, Ray rode trains cross country to Pasadena, Calif., to perform at the Rose Bowl. He subsequently earned his Master of Arts from OSU, in 1955. His thesis was entitled: "The Study of Instrumental Music Participation by the Graduates of the Public High Schools of Lima, Ohio, 1943-1954." For many years, he would return to Columbus to march with TBDBITL's Alumni Band during homecoming.

Ray was married to Barbara Anne Wright on Aug. 9, 1953, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Lima. For their first seven years, the couple and their young family called home a small downstairs apartment on Catalpa Avenue, where she typed his thesis. They then purchased their first home in Bath Township. Just two days before his passing, Ray and Barbara celebrated their 64th anniversary.

Ray taught band in the public schools at Buckland, Perry, Columbus Grove, Bath, and Ottoville. On Saturday mornings, he would be found in the basement of Porter's Music Store giving private lessons. His bands marched in local parades and performed at Cedar Point. He was well known for his wit and sense of humor, and would ask students who got off score to stand and take a bow for their "solo." After retirement, Ray continued to perform with his clarinet, most recently with the concert band at Bluffton University. He continued to participate with the Masonic Grand Lodge of Ohio 1808, where he was a 32nd Degree Mason.

In his career, Ray continuously directed church choirs on Sundays beginning in 1953. Among the churches where he was music director were Wesley UMC, West Elm United Church of Christ, and Forest Park United Methodist Church. He directed 52 consecutive Christmas cantatas. His final cantata, before retiring as a church choral director, was in 2006. He and Barbara then enjoyed the quiet life in Bluffton, traveling to historical areas throughout their beloved native state of Ohio, and out of state to visit their grandchildren. They took a trip to England and Ireland, where they missed their train stop and inadvertently ended up in Belgium. Fortunately, they were able to find an English speaker and the railroad conductor let them return on the next train.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer Ray Shinabery, Sr., and Ruth (Hartman) Shinabery; two sisters, Marilyn Swygart, in 2017, and Melba Shinabery, in 1968; a son-in-law, Matt Michalak; and a daughter-in-law, Judy Shinabery. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; son, Michael, of Cloudcroft, New Mexico; daughter the Rev. Dr. Kim Shinabery of Denver, Colo.; daughter Robin Michalak, of Etna, Ohio; son Matthew Shinabery of Denver; son Mark and his wife, Brittainy, of Lancaster, Ohio; and three grandchildren, Ryan Commeans, of Etna, Christopher Shinabery of Cloudcroft, and Shara Hammond of Artesia, NM.

The family thanks the incredibly caring nurses and staff of Bluffton Mennonite Memorial Home, and Chaplain Bill Herr, for the wonderful attention to the needs of Ray, Barbara, and his family. They are also grateful for the spiritual support from Pastor Tim Wilmetti.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Chamberlin-Huckeriede Funeral Home in Lima, Ohio.

Services will on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 10 AM at First United Methodist Church in Bluffton, Ohio

Memorial Contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church in Bluffton, Ohio.

Online condolences may be made by visiting

Cemetery Details

Memorial Park Cemetery, Lima, Ohio



AUG 15. 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home

920 N Cable Road

Lima, OH, US, 45805


AUG 15. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home

920 N Cable Road

Lima, OH, US, 45805

Funeral Service

AUG 16. 10:00 AM

First United Methodist Church

Bluffton, OH, US

 Service Information

A service summary is not available

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