Raymond Wilson Allen, 73, had a special talent for custom automotive paint work

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Raymond Wilson Allen
Raymond Wilson Allen

Raymond Wilson Allen, of Wilmington, died Thursday, June 30, 2016. He was 73. Ray was born on May 14, 1943 in Smithfield, North Carolina and died after years of declining health.

He moved to Wilmington with his parents and siblings in 1954. In his late teens he traveled to California where he met his first wife, Betty Lou Olson. They settled there while he pursued his dream of racing and establishing Allen’s Auto Body. They were blessed with three children: Sheila Kay Allen (deceased) formerly of Wilmington (Otto Lindsey), Timothy Ray Allen of Wilmington and Christina Allen Carlisle of Wilmington (Kevin Carlisle).

He shared his love for adventure with his family. They often traveled and visited with family and friends all across the United States. They moved back to Wilmington in 1975, when he reestablished his business in Leland, North Carolina.

He met his second wife, Doris Faye Gaw of Southport, in 1994. They married on 12/12/12 (12, a significant and favorite number). They built their dream home in Leland, where they shared many years of love and happiness together. He was also blessed with three stepchildren (who he considered to be his own): Pamela Levandoski Nelson of Leland, Lisa Levandoski Spivey of Leland and Ronald Joseph Levandoski Jr. of Rocky Point.

Additionally, and especially, he loved being a Papa and Peepaw. Surviving are eight grandchildren: Elizabeth Allen Hart (Bryan Hart), Christopher Lloyd Nelson, Alyssa Leigh Sellers, Madison Rose Sellers, Destiny Hope Nelson, Hunter Ryan Levandoski, Olivia Lee Levandoski and Wilson Dean Carlisle, who was named after him. He had one great-grandchild, Kaylee Catherine Hart.

His parents, Edna Mae Phillips Allen and Raymond Allen, preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were two brothers, Albert Daniel Allen (A.D.) and Dennis Keith Allen, and his beloved daughter, Sheila Kay Allen.

Also surviving Ray are two sisters, Eloise Allen Ketterman of Wilmington (the late Russell Sage Ketterman Jr.) and Mae Johnson of Portsmouth, Virginia; and one brother, Gary Wayne Allen of McCormick, South Carolina (Sue Franklin Allen). Many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who were like family to him also survive him.

Ray had many ventures in the automotive industry over the years. He was a racecar driver, mechanic, auto body man, salesman, business owner, among countless other endeavors. He had a special talent for automotive custom paint on just about any kind of vehicle and people came from all over for his custom paintwork. He always had big ideas and relished in sharing them and trying to achieve them. His last business was Atomic Auto World in Leland.

Ray was many things to many people and left a lasting impression on everyone he met. Truer words have never been spoken when we say, “Ray never met a stranger.” He left behind many wonderful stories. We, his family, hope you will share them with us when we celebrate his life.

By his request there will not be a funeral, but a celebration of life at his home in Leland. The pig pickin’ will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

Please bring a story and a side dish to share. Also, any pictures would be appreciated. If you cannot make it, please feel free to share your pictures and stories on his tribute page.

RIP.