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Ray Carthon Drumheller, 85, of Fishersville VA, died on Sunday, January 21, 2024 at his home surrounded by his family.
He was born on July 22, 1938, in Lyndhurst VA, a son of the late Carl Luther and Virgie Mae (Brookman) Drumheller.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Karla Renee Drumheller, two brothers, Charles David Drumheller and Carl Franklin Drumheller, and a great-grandson, Ryan Moats in infancy.
Ray is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Mary Alice (Simmons) Drumheller; two daughters, Sharon D. Morland (Wayne) of Grottoes and Kim Drumheller (Susan Hoover) of Waynesboro; a son Robert Drumheller (Candace Eastwood) of Fishersville. Grandchildren include Ross Morland (Valerie), Nicholas Holloway, Todd Morland, Sarah Shreckhise (Michael), Toree Weeks (Nate), Ashley Kiracofe, Maggie Smith, Logan Drumheller, Madison Drumheller and step grandchildren, Cody Harman and Katelyn Harman. Great-grandchildren include Kylie Morland, Peyton Henley, Aiden Morland, Draegen Cavanaugh, Kaylynn Weeks, Thatcher Shreckhise, Nora Kiracofe, Baylor Shreckhise, Damon Weeks, a step great-granddaughter Ava Harman; and one brother, Glenn Edwin Drumheller (Jane). Ray’s greatest treasure was his family. He held a close personal relationship with each family member. His attachment to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren was evident in the fact that his lap and heart were always full when they were around.
Ray began his career at DuPont. He was very proud in 1967 to open his first Esso station with his uncle and business partner Martin Drumheller. In 1970 he stepped away from DuPont to open a second location at the corner of Rosser and Main in Waynesboro where he and Mary Alice grew to know and love most of the town’s population. As the business continued to grow along with his family, Ray became heavily involved with the community at large and the towing industry in particular. Ray served as President on the founding Fall Foliage Festival Committee in Waynesboro and was a member of the Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, and BBB of Western Virginia. He often hosted fire department emergency accident training, supported many athletic teams, and donated the athletic field scoreboard for Wilson High School, his alma mater.
Ray was a legend in his own right in the towing industry. He was known throughout the state and nation for his devotion to towers. Ray fought for legislation that would promote safety for towers and protect the small business owners’ right to do business. Many towers today speak of the encouragement and insight Ray gave to further their own business saying, “I would not be where I am today, if not for Ray Drumheller.” Ray, a former vice-president, served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association of Towing & Recovery Operators (VATRO). He was a member of the Towing & Recovery Operators of America (TRAA) and the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame. He was an original member of the Board of Towing & Recovery Operators for the State of Virginia. In 2007, Ray received the Henry Heath Memorial Award in recognition of professionalism in the towing industry and his contributions and dedicated service to VATRO. During his lifetime, Drumheller’s Towing was awarded the Top 100 Towers in America and Most Trusted Tower awards by The American Towman group. His most elite award was the AAA Service Provider of Excellence Award, earning one of four spots out of ten thousand contractors in North America.
Life was not all work. Ray enjoyed fishing in the bay with his son-in-law Wayne and grandsons, Ross and Todd. He always loved racing. While a spectator for years, he enjoyed a span of time driving a wrecker on the NASCAR circuit with his son Robert. The last few years he devoted resources to allow his grandson Logan to race and loved to cheer him on. In work or leisure Ray was rarely without a grandchild or great-grandchild by his side. Ray and Mary Alice also loved to travel, spending time with family across the country. They also enjoyed the tow shows held around the country where they could connect with fellow towers, sharing stories and meals together.
Ray was a forty-four-year member of the Masonic fraternity at Lee No. 209 AF & AM where he served as Marshal in 2015. He was a member of the Scottish Rite and a Noble of Acca Shrine with membership in the Valley Shrine Club and Hillbilly Unit, he held the position of Captain. Ray was always present for fundraisers to further the cause of Shriners. His favorite activity was to ride his outhouse go-cart in parades and delight children by squirting them with his water flower.
Ray had a strong faith. He grew up in Hermitage Presbyterian Church where he loved to sing in the choir. This led to glee club at Wilson High School where he sang with the men who would later become the Statler Brothers. When the “Class of 57” came out, Ray was trying to get started in business. He was always proud of the fact he was included in the song. (Ray is deep in debt). His favorite time to sing was any time he could do so with his three brothers, always to the delight of the entire family.
While a member of Hermitage Presbyterian Church Ray served as a Deacon and Elder. More recently Ray was a member of Crossroads Baptist Church, where he loved the congregation. His faith was a center point in his life, and he loved bible study discussions. Ray lives now with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is rejoicing today with all those who went before him.
On Saturday, February 3rd, 2024, a tow processional will leave Fashion Square Mall in Charlottesville at 11:30am crossing Afton Mountain and coming thru Waynesboro at approximately 12:10pm, ending at Crossroads Baptist Church. This is the towing industry’s way of recognizing a fellow tower and showing honor for his service.
Also on Saturday, February 3rd, 2024, the family will receive friends from 1:00pm-3:00pm at Crossroads Baptist Church, 31 Crossroads Lane in Fishersville. A memorial service will follow at 3:00pm conducted by Pastor Heath Spivey.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to:
VATRO: PO Box 147, Manasses VA 20108
Shriners: 1712 Bellevue Ave, Richmond Va 23227
Crossroads Baptist Church: 31 Crossroads Lane, Fishersville VA 22939
Thacker Brothers Scottsville Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Family and friends may share memories and photos at www.thackerbrothers.com.