Community mourns death of longtime funeral director
By Samantha Phillips
Friends and family who came to pay their respects to Ray Kyle, longtime funeral director, described him as a family man who loved classic cars and helping people.
Hundreds of people streamed through the Stewart-Kyle Funeral Home, the place where he spent much of his life serving and comforting other families, for his calling hours Monday evening. Kyle, 86, died Friday.
Kyle served as a member and former president of the Hubbard Rotary Club. He had 58 years of perfect attendance.
Kyle’s grandson, Ben Kyle, said he was a living example of “service above self,” the club’s motto.
“He dedicated himself to the community and to its residents, to serving them not only in the funeral industry but also as a public servant,” Ben Kyle said.
Ray Kyle was a volunteer firefighter for the city and a Harding Park board member for several years.
He was also a member of the city’s historical society, the Hubbard Chamber of Commerce, and was involved in several service organizations including Toys for Tots.
“He made an impact on so many people, and the outpouring of support has helped my grandmother through some very tough days,” Ben Kyle said, adding his family has been comforted by stories of his simple acts of kindness.
John Bulmer said Ray Kyle was like a second father to him, and they used to work on classic cars together.
“We lost one hell of a guy,” he said.
Ray Kyle belonged to several car clubs, and enjoyed cross-country trips with his classic cars, especially his 1913 Cadillac.
Ben Kyle said his grandfather tried to impress on other people the importance of classic cars and their history, and he loved taking people for rides.
Debbie Bobovecz, Ray Kyle’s niece, said she has good memories of celebrating Christmas Eve at his home.
Her husband, Richard Bobovecz, added, “Ray would do anything for anybody.”
Dean Evans worked with Ray Kyle on the Rotary club, and said he helped with projects including building a playground at Harding Park.
Diana Hogg remembers Ray Kyle made sure everything was perfect for her mother’s funeral. “He was very caring,” she said.
There also will be calling hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, and the funeral service will be at 1 p.m. at the funeral home.