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CHARLOTTE — Ray Carlton died on the morning of Sept. 5, 2020, at home in Charlotte, North Carolina. His loving wife, MaryAnne, was present and he comforted her before passing.

Ray is known by many nicknames which is a testament to his colorful character: Rocking Ray, Old Fart, Silver Queen, and Buster to name a few. He is loved by many, but mostly by his family. Ray was born in a cabin in Davey County near Clarksville, North Carolina on Oct. 1, 1939, to Dorothy Lee Lindsey Carlton and Howard Hannon Carlton.

Ray is the second born of five siblings. Ray’s first formative years were spent in rural North Carolina where his father was a sharecropper. They then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina to assist with the war effort where Ray’s father built ships. After the war, the family moved to a mill village in Lexington, North Carolina where Ray’s parents worked in a cotton mill.

Ray is quoted in an interview for a news article that these were happy times. In 1947, Ray’s father felt the call to preach the word and the family moved to Fort Worth, Texas where Ray’s father attended seminary during the day and worked third shift to support his family. Ray’s father became a preacher and the family moved from church to church wherever called to serve. Reverend Carlton started two churches, one in Lexington North Carolina, and the other in San Diego, California.

Ray graduated from Kearny Senior High School in 1957 and within a short time, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed first in Japan then in Germany. Ray married in 1962 to a German woman, Marlies Kaufmann, and had a son and daughter. In 1966, Ray was honorably discharged and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where in 1969 he became a member of the Charlotte Police Department which later merged with the county Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Ray is mostly known for his years as a Major Crimes detective specializing in sex crimes.

Ray held several positions within the police department during his 25-year career: property crimes investigator, crime scene search technician, school resource officer, and field training officer. As a Major Crimes detective, Ray was known for his ability to be a keen investigator and a staunch advocate for the victim. He knew the trauma to the victim was life-altering and damaging. He knew his duty was to give the victim justice and closure. Ray is still revered by colleagues as a great detective.

During Ray’s tenure as a police officer, he divorced and remarried in 1974 to Judye Morgan Carlton. They resided in Charlotte until Ray’s retirement in 1994 from CMPD. Ray and Judye moved to Maggie Valley in Haywood county. Ray was hired in 1995 by the Haywood County Sheriff under a federal grant to investigate child abuse crimes. Again, Ray was revered as a talented advocate. Judye lost her second battle against cancer in 2000. Ray, during the last year with Judye, totally retired and was dedicated to her care. Ray was a member of the Lions Club and volunteered in Alaska’s State Independence Historical Gold mine.

Ray remarried Sept. 6, 2019, to Mary Ann Thomas-Carlton. Ray’s sassiness and the gleam in his eye returned upon meeting Mary Ann and the time they spent together the last few years.

Ray is survived by his wife Mary Ann Thomas-Carlton, daughter Yvonne Marlies Carlton, son Phillip John Carlton, son R. Edwin Carlton and his wife Andrea, granddaughters Remmi and Lexi. Ray is also survived by his sisters Dorothy ‘Jeanette’ Woodruff and her husband Johnny, Linda ‘Kaye’ Evans and her husband Donnie, Judith Ann Carlton Hall and her husband Bill. Ray was preceded in death by, and now home with, his father Rev. Howard Hannon Carlton, mother Dorothy Lee Lindsey Carlton, brother James Martin Carlton, wife Judye Morgan Carlton, and niece Dana Sumrall. Ray will be sorely missed by nieces and nephews: Joe, Lou, Alan, Howard, Tracy, and Phillip and all our extended family. Ray will be very much missed at the 54th annual Carlton Christmas this year.

Unfortunately, due to limitations for public gatherings, there will be no formal visitation and the service will be for immediate family members only.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorials be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be offered online at

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