On Friday, February 16, 2018, Ray Andrew Miles, 74, a resident of Charlestown Retirement Community, passed away after a long battle with diabetes and heart conditions. Ray Miles was the son of Ray Miles, Sr. and Emma Ridgeway. The family owned a grocery store in the Highridge area of Laurel, MD. They lived above the store and sold groceries, etc. out of the main store. When Ray was 15 years old, there was an armed robbery and Ray’s father was killed.
Ray’s Mom was very religious so Ray attended Savage Baptist Church. As he grew up in the church, he began to take over positions of leadership, such as, teaching in the Sunday school and various other programs. While still in high school, he formed the Youth Choir at the church.
In 1961, Ray graduated from Laurel High School. He then went on to attend the University of Maryland where he obtained advanced degrees in Music and Education. He became a teacher in Prince George’s County Schools where he taught Music and Special Education. He directed various music programs for the school system including musicals at Duval Senior High School. One of the most celebrated of these was “My Fair Lady”. Ray continued to serve as Musical Director for several churches. These included Cheverly Methodist, Lanham Methodist, Savage Methodist and in most recent years Trinity United Methodist of Catonsville. He was known for putting on elaborate musical programs for Easter, Christmas and other occasions.
In addition, Ray taught music privately teaching both piano and vocal instruction. From this he developed many friendships and lifelong relationships with people who admired him. His expertise in music was further demonstrated by his professional accomplishments. He worked with numerous theatres and dinner theatres and devoted time to Catonsville Youth Theatre and Lanham Youth Theatre, helping develop young people’s talent in music. He also produced and directed Handel’s Messiah professionally. He was admitted to the highly acclaimed Gay Mens’ Chorus.
In earlier days, Ray was involved with Church of the Savior in Adams Morgan and the very progressive Metropolitan Community Church in Washington, D.C.
He very much loved to travel and attended numerous Christian Conferences, Training Sessions and Youth Rallies around the country. Included in his desire for travel, he made several trips to Ocean City per season. He made annual trips to Fort Lauderdale, FL and Los Angeles, CA. He frequently visited the Crystal Cathedral and was friends with Robert Schuller. Robert Schuller’s grandson and Ray struck up a friendship and when the grandson formed his own church, Ray made many efforts to attend.
His care and concern for others led him to be politically active. He was a hard worker for equal rights, economic fairness and particularly healthcare for all Americans. He was known to visit the Capitol and lobby hard for those issues he was passionate about.
In later years, Ray moved to Charlestown Retirement Community. He immediately became very active, and wrote and produced “The Charlestown Follies” which was a humorous look at life in the Charlestown Community.
He touched many lives and cared very much about others. It was a life well lived and worth remembering. Dear Ray Miles, Rest In Peace. In Lieu of flowers please make a donation to your local Methodist Church.