In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Milton Ray Turner, 1929-2023

Milton Ray Turner, 1929-2023
IMB Photo

Milton Ray Turner, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Ecuador and Panama, died April 11, 2023. He was 94.

Milton was born March 12, 1929, in Edgewood, Texas, to the late Henry Jack and Augusta Turner. He graduated from Crozier Technical High School in Dallas, Texas, and received the Bachelor of Business Administration from Dallas Baptist College, and the Master of Science from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas.

After graduating from high school, Ray attended college at night while he worked as an office helper with Sun Oil Company.

Ray married Betty Aline Dozier on March 12, 1948, on his nineteenth birthday. Ray moved up in the ranks with Sun Oil, living in Dallas and McAllen, Texas. He was eventually transferred to South America. The family lived in Colombia for about two years and later moved to Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Ray and Betty were active members of Faith Baptist Church in Maracaibo, where Ray was a deacon and loved to sing the tenor part in a men’s quartet. They made many lifelong friends in Maracaibo with fellow employees, church members and missionary friends who lived and served in Venezuela.

In 1967, Ray took early retirement from Sun Oil, and the family moved back to Dallas, where Ray worked and completed his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Dallas Baptist University.

In 1970, the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) appointed Ray and Betty missionaries to Ecuador. As associate missionaries, Ray used his business skills to run the business aspect of the Ecuadorian mission. Ray served for three years in this capacity.

Afterward, he returned to the oil industry with Texaco, working in the jungles of Ecuador. The family returned to the United States in 1974, where Ray continued working in the oil industry and earned his Master of Science in Business Administration at the University of Dallas. Ray also taught college accounting classes at North Lake College in Irving.

In 1985 Ray and Betty were re-appointed to serve with the FMB in Ecuador. He served as logistics coordinator until they retired in 1994. One of Ray’s greatest joys during those years was traveling to the town of Nanegal, Ecuador, where they shared the gospel and planted a church.

Following Ray’s retirement, Ray and Betty moved to Granbury, Texas. He continued to volunteer for Southern Baptist missions for many years, taking on short assignments in South and Central America and working at the Baptist Spanish Publishing House (Publicaciones Mundo Hispano) in El Paso, Texas.

Ray and Betty were members of Acton Baptist Church. He volunteered through the church, where he gave financial stewardship advice, traveled on many mission trips and worked in the after-school program.
In 2016, Ray and Betty moved to Carrollton, Texas, where they joined Royal Haven Baptist Church.

Ray is preceded in death by Betty, his wife of 74 years; his daughter, Rita Kay Moles; and his granddaughter, Sherri Melton.

He is survived by his daughters, Diana Turner (David Casey), Penny Stamps (Keith), and Brenda Turner; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held April 24, at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home in Colleyville, Texas, with burial in Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.