Thomas Ray Donaldson Sr., son of the late Thomas Rayfield Donaldson, first born of Marguerite L. Dingle, and step-son of Gary L. Dingle was born on October 27, 1966, in Union Memorial Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland. On the morning of January 28, 2013, his precious life tragically came to an end.
Ray, Big Ray, & Ray-Ray as he was affectionately called, was educated in the Public Schools of Baltimore City. He attended Northwood Elementary School, Chinquapin Middle School, and graduated as a “Dunbar Poet” in the class of 1984 from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.
At the age of two, Ray was dedicated to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by the late Reverend U.D. Chambers of St. Matthews United Methodist Church, 416 E. 23rd. Street in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ray came from a blended family. When he was eight years old, his mother married Gary Dingle. Zachery, Gary’s son who was three at the time also joined the family. Two years later, Tennille was born. The Dingle family was now complete.
Ray’s resume of his work career includes Baltimore Behavioral Health, Marshall Refuse Removal, and the Beverage Capital Corporation. He found his most recent employment with the Regeneration Project his most rewarding. Ray was employed as a school based one-to-one behavior aide for students diagnosed with Severe Emotional Disorder (SED). His daily role was to support students with managing their mental and emotional issues in the school setting so that they might achieve their academic goals. He participated on multi-disciplinary teams that were responsible for implementing effective behavior modification strategies in the classroom setting.
Ray was an avid sports fan. At an early age, he became a member of the Northwood Athletic Leagues, playing both football and baseball. You could always find him at the football field watching his nephew, Rashad Estep, throwing the touchdown passes for St. Francis Academy. He was a true “Dunbar Poet” and follower. During the basketball season everyone knew that he was in the gym cheering for the “Poets” because you could hear him yelling to his nephew Kamau Stokes, “go nephew go.” He even had an opportunity to take a picture with one of his favorite basketball players, Rudy Gay, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies. Baseball wasn’t high on Ray’s list of sports but whenever his nephew, Kajuan played at the Ripken Camp or the Orioles were in town, he would on occasion spend the afternoon with his mother at Camden Yards as she cheered on Buck Showalter and the boys. He was also a lover of “Old School Music”.
Ray fathered five children Little Ray, Mimi, Joshua, Kiyah, and Raynard. He loved and cherished his offspring especially his girls.
Ray knew a lot of people. He valued the relationships that he had with his family and his friends. He learned that relationships are precious, priceless, and irreplaceable. He was a generous individual who would do almost anything to help someone who was in need. If you were down and needed a laugh, he could certainly brighten your day.
God was preparing Ray for that tragic day on January 28th. Before his death, he had been attending Huber Memorial Church with his mother. He said that he liked coming to Huber because Pastor’s delivery of the Word was plain, simple, and easy to understand. He shared with his mother how things were changing in his life and how good things were happening to him since he had been going to church. The closing message on his answering machine now ended with “And have a blessed day.”
Ray leaves to cherish a lifetime of memories: his mother and step-father, Marguerite and Gary Dingle; five children, Thomas Ray Donaldson Jr.(Little Ray), Margoshia (Mimi) Donaldson, Joshua Corey Donaldson, Kiyah Noel Bush, and Raynard Donaldson; one sister, Tennille Estep (Kevin); one brother, Zachery Dingle(Liset); two half-brothers, Cinque and Jamal Donaldson; three nephews, Rashad and Kajuan Estep, and Kojo Dingle; two nieces, Tori Estep and Kamaria Dingle; ten aunts, six uncles and three great aunts; a devoted friend, Chanel Scott; four lifetime friends, Melvin Lee, Jerome Cox, Darren Cole, and Jonathan (Johnny) Logan; and a host of other relatives and friends.