Raynelle G. Bone
Raynelle “Raye” G. Bone, 77, of Jacksonville, Florida, passed unexpectedly on March 2, 2023, surrounded by her family.
Raye was born on May 4, 1945, in Portsmouth, Virginia. By all contemporary accounts, she was a precocious child mature beyond her years. Her family moved to Winter Garden, Florida, when she was nine. After graduating from Lakeview High School in 1963, Raye attended the University of Florida to study nursing. There she met the love of her life, Marshall Bone. She graduated in 1967 as one of the first women to receive a four-year nursing degree.
Raye began her life of caring for others as a public health nurse in the Orlando area. In 1969, Raye was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, beginning her 36-year career serving our country. One of the personal highlights of her time in the Air Force was earning a higher degree in order to become a flight nurse. Raye earned the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal, among other decorations, before retiring as a full colonel in 1996.
Raye’s time in the Air Force gave her the opportunity to live throughout the United States, in the Philippines, Germany, and Greece. She considered herself blessed to have lived abroad and travelled extensively, all while collecting many treasures and lifetime friends around the world.
Raye’s true passion as a nurse was caring for mothers and babies. She would give unsolicited advice to new mothers—often complete strangers—wherever she encountered them. This was just one of the many ways she conveyed her irrepressible love for others.
Raye and Marshall have an incredible story. After their lives took separate (though parallel) paths, they reunited in 1991 and married within months. Marshall was not going to let her get away again. Together they truly flourished while living in DeLand, Florida. Raye loved her adopted hometown. When she was not cheering on the Gators, shopping, or planning her next adventure, she was giving back. Raye served on the Memorial Health System and Young Life board of directors, worked with special needs children at Boston Avenue School, and devoted time to numerous other civic organizations and city events. Raye took great pride in maintaining a beautiful home in DeLand that was open to friends, family, and the community. She greatly enjoyed decorating for Christmas and hosting celebrations and fundraisers.
Raye was a fiercely dedicated mother to her children Megan and James. Her daughter and son came first and were above all else. She instilled this value in her children and was overwhelmed with joy watching them as parents themselves. Raye’s grandchildren adored her. No matter the limitations on her mobility in later days, she made every effort to be with them, whether at sporting events, Disney, boating on the St. Johns River, or trips to the mountains.
Raye never met a stranger and would leave passing encounters with a person’s life story. It is fitting her obituary is not brief. She was a woman who loved to talk and share with anyone who was open to conversation.
Her family finds comfort in the kind words and memories shared by friends. It is incredible how many people considered Raye their closest friend, who helped them in the most difficult times.
Raye was a force and a presence that was unmatched. She lived a full life, loved hard, and is missed by so many. The void left by her absence will never be filled.
Raye was predeceased by her mother, Margaret, whom she loved dearly. She is survived by Marshall, her husband of 31 years; daughter Megan Denk (Ed) of Jacksonville, Florida; son James Bailey (Emily) of Birmingham, Alabama; and her four grandchildren, Bailey, Beckett, Sawyer, and Brooke (who is due March 2023); stepdaughter Bonnie Bone (Grant Thrower) of Alexandria, Virginia; and her sister Susan McKinney of Portland, Oregon.
A celebration of Raye’s life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Raye’s name to Young Life West Volusia (giving.younglife.org/Raynelle) or Ghana West Africa Medical Mission (ghanaafricanmedicalclinic.org).