Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 12, 2013

Author Francis Ray, former Navarro County resident, passes

From Staff Reports
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Francis Ray, of Dallas and formerly of Navarro County, passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Concord Church in Dallas. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 764651, Dallas, Texas 75376.

Ray was one of five children born to Venora and McClinton Radford Sr. Though Francis was born in Richland, the family moved to Corsicana when she was in the eighth grade, because her mother believed the schools were better.

Francis Ray graduated from G. W. Jackson High School, and received a Jim Collins Scholarship. She earned her degree from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and became a nurse.

In 2006 when the Corsicana Daily Sun interviewed Ray, she was working as a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She also, at that time, had over 30 novels in print, and had just written and published five books in 2005. Ray was a romance novelist in her spare time, and when “Any Rich Man Will Do” was released in October 2005, a portion of the proceeds from its sale went to The Turning Point Legal Fund, a fund established by Ray in 2001 to assist women who are victims of domestic violence.

All the heroines from Ray’s novels are African-American, as was she. She said, in January 2006, “I love romance novels, and never saw an African-American in a key role. I wanted to see African-Americans take center stage, and show they could own a company, have money, and be successful.”

Her husband, William H. Ray, and daughter, Carolyn Michelle Ray, were supportive of her dual careers. She especially loved writing books, believing in reaching people with a positive message about African-Americans. Ray wanted her readers to love the characters in her books because of who they were on the inside, and her message was not to judge others by their exteriors — their skin color, the way they dress, their occupations — but by who they are on the inside.