Ray Kesecker Stock
August 1, 1934 - July 12, 2020
You couldn’t help but learn something from Ray Stock. You learned not to fall asleep in class. You learned how to pull a speedometer from a junkyard car. You learned to identify the stars in the heavens. You learned a lifelong work ethic. These lessons and countless others came to a close on Sunday, July 12, 2020, when Ray passed away at his home in Swannanoa. Ray embodied the soul of Warren Wilson College, joining the faculty in 1968 as a math and physics professor, later becoming director of administrative computing, beginning in 1985. In the 1990s, he was also the assistant basketball coach of the school’s men’s team. He retired from the college in 2007. He graduated in 1956 with a bachelor of science degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in physics from Texas A&I University. From Ray, you also learned how to calculate the first derivative of a function, along with the excitement of figuring it out yourself without him just telling you. You learned how to give the impression you’re 6 feet tall when you’re 5-foot-2. You learned to give no excuses and to take no bulls---. You learned that love is not just saying the words — what counts is being present for someone.
Ray — aka Happy, Hap, Uncle Ray, Dr. Ray, PaPa and Raymond — was a dedicated member of Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church, serving as elder, deacon, and budget and finance committee member. In the Presbyterian way, if he voted against a project, he would be the first person working on that very same project, often with hammer in hand.
“Ray was many things,” said church pastor Steve Runholt. “He was a devoted father, a loving partner, a loyal friend, a skilled builder, a legendary teacher, and a die-hard fan of Tar Heel basketball.” Ray also diligently and lovingly maintained the Warren Wilson Cemetery, serving as a trustee, as well as mowing the grass, adding the memorial stone and maintaining its records. He was an accomplished builder, constructing his own house as well as multiple buildings throughout Swannanoa and Asheville. From Ray, you learned practical life lessons, such as how to use a chainsaw. You learned that if you didn’t put the tools away, no one else would. You learned how to build a foundation and create opportunities. You learned to question authority and that dissent is OK and even patriotic. You learned how to take — and give — the best verbal sparring. You learned how to eat chips off the ground (because the sun kills the germs). You learned how to be a loyal and a steadfast friend.
Ray is survived by his son, Stephen Stock and daughter-in-law, Lynn Peithman Stock of San Jose, California, and grandson, Michael Stock of Plantation, Florida; his son, Jeff Stock and daughter-in-law, Sonya Newlyn and grandson, Sebastian Stock of Santa Cruz, California; his daughter, Cynthia Stock and son-in-law Oumar Diop of Silver Spring, Maryland, and his daughter, Amy Stock, son-in-law, Tommy Lo, granddaughter, Savannah Lo and grandson, Griffin Lo of Arlington, Virginia; his former wife, Juanita Keller Stock of Santa Cruz, California, with whom he raised four exceptional children; and his longtime companion, Mary Craig, with whom he discovered the joys of travel, scuba diving and Sunday night popcorn. From Ray, you also learned to live in the moment and always be happy. You learned how to turn a wheelbarrow into a makeshift barbecue grill. You learned how to shoot the moon when playing Hearts. You learned how to work a riding lawnmower. You learned how to waltz at his 85th birthday party. You learned how to drive a stick shift with a compulsory stop halfway up the hill. And finally, you learned the meaning of unconditional love, from us to him, and from him to us.
A memorial service will be held later, once we can gather in person. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a fund honoring Ray at Warren Wilson College at 701 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC 28778.
Penland Family Funeral Home in Swannanoa is handling arrangements and is honored to be caring for the Stock Family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ray Kesecker Stock, please visit our floral store.
Warren Wilson College - C/O Ray Stock
701 Warren Wilson Road, Swannanoa NC 28778