Ray William Stotler
Ray Stotler was born October 7, 1947, in Morgan County, West Virginia, the son of Stanley and Naomi Powell Stotler. Ray had two sisters, Betty and Joanne, and three brothers, Robert, Ronnie, and Vernon.
|At age 11 or 12, Ray was a catcher on the Little League team at Paw Paw coached by Councilman Eldridge Kerns. Other activities included rabbit hunting and assisting his father in the mowing business. He attended Paw Paw High School, graduating in June 1965.|
Ray was drafted in October 1966 and received basic training at Fort Jackson, North Carolina. Ray found success in the military. His cousin Helen Shambaugh later wrote, “He was so proud to show me how well he was doing in the military.” Upon arrival in Vietnam in May 1967, he was assigned to patrol and helicopter duty before becoming a member of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
On August 2, 1967, Ray and six other members of his unit were killed by sniper fire. Ray’s parents later received a letter of condolence from the parents of Monte Ziceke, Ray’s buddy in Vietnam who had been with him at the time he was killed: "We want to extend our deepest sympathy to you folks in your great loss. Our son Monte and your son Ray were the best of buddies. They met in Vietnam and Monte says you couldn't find a better buddy than your son. Monte was with your son at the time of his death." He is buried in the Woodrow Church Cemetery in Paw Paw.
|In July 2003, the newly constructed Winchester Street Bridge in Paw Paw was named the Private Ray W. Stotler Memorial Bridge, a tribute which seemed fitting as Ray Stotler walked the Winchester Bridge every day on his way to school.|
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.
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