JULY 2, 1934 – FEBRUARY 10, 2014
Melvin Ray Holt was born July 2, 1934 in Robeline, LA, the youngest, with his twin brother Elvin Roy, of 9
children of Melvin David and Nancy Crow Holt. His family was poor in possessions, but rich in love and in the
grace of Jesus Christ. His young life was scarred by tragedy, when his twin brother died at 9 years old from
encephalitis. He described these as dark years, marked by anger, bitterness, depression, and thoughts of suicide.
Then during his teenage years, Jesus found him, redeemed him, and healed his heart. He was never the same.
He set out to do whatever God gave him to do. Having neither the grades nor the money to go to college, he set out
to follow his Father into the sawmills of NE Louisiana. Like countless saints before him, God had different designs.
His pastor found a way to enroll him at Centenary College, and the rest, as they say, is history. He worked hard,
graduated with honors, earned a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at SMU, and was ordained an
elder in the Louisiana Conference in 1961.
He met Elizabeth Jones at Caddo Heights Methodist Church while they were students at Centenary. They married in
1957 and raised 4 sons.
Ray would eventually serve 19 Methodist congregations in Texas, Louisiana, The Philippines, and Ohio as a student
pastor, associate pastor, senior pastor, and “retired” pastor. He ministered in three languages (English, Tagalog, and
Spanish). He was a missionary to the Philippines for 8 years, where he served the Aeta people of Northern Luzon.
Along the way he got involved in boy scouts, started a troop for handicapped boys in Sulphur, was awarded the
Bronze Pelican and Silver Beaver for service to scouting, became a grandfather, “retired” and moved to Ohio,
followed God’s call into Walk to Emmaus, its youth ministry, Chrysalis and Kairos prison ministry, celebrated 56
years of life with the girl he loved and 60 years of pastoral ministry.
He did not have “no” in him. He was insatiably curious, read voraciously and widely, worked hard, and was willing
to learn. He had a gift for languages, a gift for singing, and a love for people that sprung from the deep well of Jesus’
love. He made instant friends, and was loyal to a fault. He ran the race marked for him with tenacity, grace, and joy.
And song; always with song.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, he was present with his brothers and sisters in worship. On Monday, Feb. 10, he passed into the
presence of his precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents Melvin and Nancy; brothers Melvin David, Jr, James, Roy, and Jack; and
sisters Tommie Sylvest, Lola Donaho and Lettie Freeman. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, sons Melvin Ray
Jr, (Julie), Michael (Cindy), David (Julie), and Charlie, adopted daughter Pam Ebarb, grand children Catherine,
Carolyn, Micheal, and Drew, and many nieces and nephews.