Kenneth Ray Harwell

Staff Written Obituaries

Kenneth Ray Harwell, 67, of Madison was called home on July 17, 2020, surrounded by the love of his family, both near and far.

He was born July 25, 1952, in Madison, the son of the late Agnes and Dewitt Harwell. Ray, as he was called, was the youngest of six children. On March 16, 1974, he married the love of his life, Mary Lynn Calvert. Together, they raised three children.

He was a graduate of Morgan County High School, class of 1970, and served in the National Guard for seven years. He was a dedicated employee of 30 years for the University of Georgia’s Experiment Station, Central Georgia Branch located in Putnam County, where Ray and his family lived and grew.

Ray had a quick wit, and was always fond of a joke or pun, but his God-given talent – and not coincidentally, his favorite thing to do — was to perform for people, whether playing music on his guitar and singing, or by working behind the scenes to ensure that the show went on, as it always must. Even after he settled into his role as a family man, Ray volunteered at the Putnam Alliance for the Performing Arts, both as an actor in several productions and assisting with set and prop construction.  Ray, you see, was truly a Renaissance Man.

As a member of the Rising Star Masonic Lodge #4 in Eatonton, Ray was recognized as Mason of the Year in both 1989 and 1993, and was honored to serve as Worshipful Master in 1990. He was a long-term member of Godfrey United Methodist Church, serving as lay speaker, lay leader, song leader and Sunday school teacher. The education of his children was of the utmost importance to Ray; therefore, he was very involved at their schools, particularly during their years at Butler-Baker Elementary, where he chaperoned field trips galore and served as head of the Parent Teacher Committee. Somehow, he also found time to help coach several seasons of Little League at the Putnam County Rec Department.

He is survived by his faithful wife of 46 years; his three children: Daniel Harwell, of Madison; Jason Harwell (Jana) of Athens, and Katie Porter (Andy) of LaGrange, and seven grandchildren: Maddie and Jack Harwell; Molly, Sam and Nate Harwell; and Adah and Emric Porter; and five siblings: Faye Harwell (Bernie Cohen); Jim Harwell (Patsy); Vernon Harwell (Ann); Charles Harwell (Eleanor) and Doris Durand, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Services was held Wednesday, July 22 at A. E. Carter Funeral Home in Madison. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Ray’s memory to the Alzheimers Association or to Godfrey United Methodist Church. 

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