Cover photo for Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell's Obituary
Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell Profile Photo

Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell

September 27, 1940 — September 17, 2023


Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell


Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell, born on September 27, 1940, passed away on September 17, 2023.

Born the oldest of 3 children in Rosboro, Arkansas, he was raised in Prescott, Arkansas. Ray was a proud member of the US Army. He met his wife, Clarice, in their early 20’s and together they raised three daughters and a son.

Ray was a true Razorback fan and lover of the south. While he enjoyed traveling with his job, living in several US states with his wife and kids, he was drawn back home to the south for retirement.

Ray’s career in the forest products and cutting tool industries was his life's passion. He was a 3rd generation legacy to the sawmill industry and loved every aspect of his work. He was a self-made man, working his way up from a sawfiler in the sawmill, to an Executive Vice President for a Knife and Saw company. The vitality of his spirit and tireless work ethic are reflected in the countless people he served over the years as well as in the lives of his children and grandchildren.

Ray enjoyed meeting new people and “chit-chat” was his superpower. Any stranger he encountered quickly became his new friend. He was a member of Gideons International. He generously served as a deacon in his church and enjoyed providing community support as a board member at Montgomery County Nursing Home.

His hobbies were hunting, fishing, and working on the farm on which he retired with his wife in Glenwood, AR.

His passing is preceded by his beloved parents, Walter Thomas Connell and Mabel Mae Blakely Connell, as well as his brothers, Robert James Connell and Lewis Blakely Connell. He is survived by his devoted wife, Clarice Wright Connell; his children, Carlene Mathes (Johnny), Sydney Kessell, Karen Smith, and Walt Connell; and his grandchildren Quentin Kessell, Claire Connell, and Anna Connell. Ray leaves behind his devoted Australian Shepard, Chloe.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, September 20, 2023, in the Smith Family Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. James Owens officiating.

Visitation will be held prior to services at 9:00 AM on Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Gideons International ( in memory of Ray.

Ray's spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of his loving family and friends.


Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Smith Family Funeral Home, 209 North 3rd Street, Glenwood, AR 71943.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Rayburn "Ray" Connell, please visit our flower store.
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