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Visitation: after the memorial service
Service: 2:00 PM Wednesday April 17, 2019 St. John's Reformed Church
Interment: -------
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Dervit Ray Waller
January 3, 1928-April 14, 2018

The Y, church and family -- the three most important things in Dervit Ray Waller’s life. He worked at Cannon Memorial YMCA for more than six decades, attended St. John’s Reformed Church for 85 years, celebrated 66 years of marriage to Claire May Broome Waller on April 10, loved his two sons, Michael Ray and David Allen, his daughters-in-law, three grandchildren and great granddaughter, with all his heart. He passed into eternal life Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Whether he was accommodating grandchildren’s rough housing and bunny chasing trails, treating them to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, banishing the “Tweety Bird” toy that was scaring his two-year-old great granddaughter, or giving a “talking watch” that matched his to his youngest granddaughter, Ray always smiled and opened his heart.

He had a way of making everyone feel as if they were the most important person when they visited; he passed that down generation through generation. He always said, “I love you,” even as tears would fill his eyes as a grandchild was leaving. He passed on his love of birdwatching, for watching snow and making “first footprints.”

Ray, who grew up in Kannapolis, attended Woodrow Wilson Elementary and J. W. Cannon High School. He served in the Army Air Corps, where he rose to the rank of Sergeant. He attended N.C. State University, worked in the cotton department at Cannon Mills and then started working at the YMCA part-time in 1951. By late Summer 1952, Ray accepted a full-time role managing the swimming pool, where he taught children and adults swimming basics as well as lifesaving. He enjoyed playing in the pool with children and serving at various – and countless -- family and service events. In 1963, Ray moved into a position in the Men’s Health Club.

In his 66 years working there, he was a fixture at the YMCA, opening the doors at 5 a.m., holding multiple positions, including aquatics director and health club director. All told, Ray served under eight YMCA general secretaries. He liked being around people and, in a 2012 Charlotte Observer article, he said, “The staff’s my favorite part...and the people that come in that I’ve gotten to know so well over the years.”

At St. John’s, where Ray attended from age 6, he served several terms on the church consistory, was Sunday School superintendent, and after counting the collection at services, often visited with children in the nursery. After retiring, if there was an event at church, he was there to help.

Born January 3, 1928, in Rowan County, NC, Ray, 91, was the oldest son of the late Moses Dervit (Derb) and Callie Cox Waller. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Joe Waller and Bob Waller. He is survived by his wife, Claire May Broome Waller; two sons, Michael Ray Waller (Mary) of Weddington and David Allen Waller (Gay) of China Grove; his grandchildren Lincoln Waller (Jennifer) of Taipei, Taiwan, Juliet Waller of West Palm Beach, FL, and Sarah Waller of Bellevue, WA, and one great granddaughter, Madison.

A memorial service celebrating Ray’s life will be held Wednesday, April 17, at 2 p.m., at St. John’s Reformed Church, 901 N. Main St., Kannapolis. A visitation in the fellowship hall will follow the service.

Memorials may be sent to:

Cannon Memorial YMCA
101 YMCA Dr.
Kannapolis, NC 28081 St. John’s Reformed Church
901 N. Main St.
Kannapolis, NC 28081 Hospice & Palliative Care of Cabarrus County
5003 Hospice Lane
Kannapolis, NC 28081

Online condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.
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From: Brian Mann
"Claire and the Waller family: I'm deeply sorry for your loss. Ray was a great man and a great mentor. I was sadden when he left the Y and now I'm sadden even more. Ray had a saying calling someone one of the all time greats. Ray was the all time great. He left his legacy not only at the Y but in the community as well. His legacy will be carried on through me and many others."
From: Karen Wallwe Moore
"Rest In Peace cousin. You will be truly missed. You have been a big part of our family for a long time. Remember the swim classes at the old YMCA. And also seeing you at the Y when I went to water aerobic classes. Everyone there will miss you too. You always had a smile for everyone you met. God Bless,"
From: Philip Belfield - Branch Executive Kannapolis YMCA
"Ray Waller was a dedicated community servant. He was beloved by many. He was an example of a humble, kind and loving man. The YMCA is so grateful to have a man like Ray serve for 66 years. To Claire and his family, we pray for your peace."
From: Linda pope
"Ms. Clare and sons. It was a honor to know ray , he was always so kind , I will miss him. I am so sorry for your loss"
From: John & Anita Monroe
"Claire, Mike, and family, Praying sweet memories for you all. We know Ray will be sorely missed. John & Anita Monroe"
From: Jan and Luke Blume
"We are so sorry for your loss Claire, Mike and David. Ray was such a great man. He taught me to swim at age six. He was a neighbor, coworker and friend. He always smiled and told everyone he loved them! I will never forget our last visit. He smiled and told us he loved us through tears. We will miss Ray! God bless you!"
From: Beatrice Ballard Childs
"Mr. Waller was a true friend of everyone he knew. Am amazed that he attended the same elementary school and worked in the cotton dept. (as I did). He was there all of my life. Mrs. Waller was the nurse at Camp Elliot every year that I went-so my very sincerest sympathy to her and to all of Mr. Ray's family. But still my most vivid memory of RAY WALLER IS the day Mr. Brown died in the lake. There were dozens, maybe hundreds of people out there, but only Mr. Waller was strong enough to jump in and try to save him. He could not have been saved though, and he became a very vivid memory to me also. (I never called him Mr. Waller when I new him, but I will do that for the rest of MY life. THANK YOU MR. WALLER. WELL DONE, SIR.)"