Clinton Walker, Jr. was born March 16, 1934, the second of
five children, to R. C. Walker, Sr. and wife, Elizabeth, in
Centreville, Mississippi. Ray's parents were living in
Wilkinson, Mississippi, but the nearest hospital was in
Centreville. Ray's dad and mom had completed schooling at
David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee, and moved to
Wilkinson, where he became minister of the Church of Christ
in Wilkinson and a teacher in the public school in nearby
Woodville. Wilkinson boasted a grocery store with a post
office in it, a church building, and the Netterville saw
mill (still operative and one of the most prosperous in the
world). The Walkers lived in a three room, shotgun,
sawmill-raw-lumber house, which is still there today, with
added bath and screened-in front porch, housing a worker at
the saw mill.
Since "R. C." (this is the way his dad was known) was an
evangelist, the Walkers moved every two to four years. Also
living in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas,
and, Florida (twice) by the time Ray went to Nashville to
attend David Lipscomb College (now University) in 1952,
immediately after graduating from Andrew Jackson High School
in Jacksonville, Florida. Ray was Chaplain of his graduating
class at both schools.
In Nashville, in 1952, Ray became the bass singer in the
college quartet. Pat Boone was also a member of that group.
He began doing local television and various shows, both, on
his own and with the quartet Ray had been singing in
quartets from the third grade. His dad put him on his public
feet when he was six years old, both, singing and speaking.
By the time he was fourteen, he was traveling away from home
In September 1954, a junior in college, Ray and Marilyn
DuFresne married. They had met in Jacksonville, Florida, at
fourteen. Were it not for Marilyn, her knowledge,
dedication, her strength, her care and keeping, none of the
following could have been possible.
Ray and Marilyn became involved in foster-care six months
after they were married and remain active, presently,
totaling some 35 foster children, for different periods of
time. By May 1963, they had six children, and now have
fifteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
Ray dropped out of school in 1955, moved to Centerville,
Tennessee, where he helped to build a radio station, WHLP,
worked with the local Church, and, became the youngest
school principal in the history of Tennessee. He came back
to college in 1956 and graduated in June 1957, with a BA
Degree in Speech, Music, Bible, and, Education; worked for
Werthan Bag Company during the Summer. By that time Ray and
Marilyn's third child was on the way.
Ray continued working for the local Church and, in the Fall
began teaching school in Davidson County Schools, where he
was Assistant Principal, Coach, and commanded a split
seventh and eighth grade class. It was April 1958 now, and
through a business call to David Lipscomb College, Ray was
put in touch with the Jordanaires by his former Choral
Director. Gordon Stoker had called there, just prior to
Ray's call, to see if the Music Department knew of a bass
singer who might fit their requirements. When Ray spoke with
the professor, he said to give them his name, which the
professor did. Ray was called that afternoon, auditioned at
11:00 that evening, was called at the school the next day
and asked to go to Hollywood to do some recording. The
school board let him off, he went, came home and completed
his school year of teaching, and joined the Jordanaires,
officially, June 1, 1958.
Since that time, while working with the Jordanaires, he had
a successful, daily, morning show, "YOUR OWN TIME" on the
ABC Channel in Nashville in 1976. Ray has done modeling,
numerous radio, television, magazine and newspaper
commercials (locally and nationally). He was a deputy
sheriff (as a liaison between trouble youth and distraught
families) for twenty-some years and, as were all the
Jordanaires, an honorary member of the Tennessee Governor's
Staff in Tennessee for many years.
Among the accolades the group has received during his tenure
with The Jordanaires is induction into the Country Music
Hall of Fame, the NACMAI (North American Country Music
Association International) Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music
Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of
Fame and others. Ray
was inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame, individually,
in 2013. He was, also, awarded the "Avalon Award",
the highest award given for contribution and accomplishment
by his alma mater', David Lipscomb University, in 2005.
During the early 1960s, Ray Walker, Neal Matthews, Jr., Hoyt
Hawkins and Gordon Stoker helped mold the genre of Country
Music known as "The Nashville Sound", singing backup
harmonies to such artists as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim
Reeves, Loretta Lynn, Rick Nelson, Kitty Wells, Dolly
Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus, and many others to numerous to
Also known for his solo recordings, Walker has helped in the
development of albums and CDs of a cappella composition
performed, among others, by the Freed-Hardeman University
Singers and the
Harding University Choir. For years, he served as song
director for "The Amazing Grace" Bible program, produced by
the Madison Church of Christ in the Nashville suburb.
Marilyn was awarded "THE HEART OF A SERVANT AWARD"
for her work with battered women.
Ray has over 600 a cappella worship songs recorded,
reportedly being heard in 77 nations. Walker has been
recorded nearly every week since he was 13 years old. He
began singing in public at 6 years old. In the late 1940s,
Ray was recorded, first time, on his Dad's wire recorder
every week until he was 18; in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s,
1980s and 1990s, and 2000s, he was sometimes recorded on 200
songs a week, as aids in church worship in spirit and truth
series. Ray has
found time to be involved in over three thousand sing-outs,
youth rallies, appearances of his own.
Up to 2013, it is estimated that Walker has been recorded on
more than 200,000 songs (including repeats for different
services and classes), and including his professional
recording with the
Jordanaires, and is reservedly believed to be the most
recorded voice in the history of music during his 66 years
Ray Walker is currently one of the ministers of the Waverly
Church of Christ in Waverly, Tennessee. Ray continues to
lead singing for congregations of the Churches of Christ.
Ray was the Bass Singer in "THE JORDANAIRES" for 54 years
and 345 days, when upon the passing of Gordon Stoker, March
27, 2013, "THE JORDANAIRES" as a group, officially, came to
an end. Ray, occasionally, performs with country crooner
Ronnie McDowell, and others, in programs dedicated to the
memory of Elvis Presley.
........And Ray and Marilyn work on.