Second Annual Ray Kitchens Memorial Pirate Treasure Benefit for LifePath Hospice

Who is Ray Kitchens?

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Ray Kitchens, my loving father. I miss you so much it hurts. But I know you would be so proud and honored.

Who is Ray Kitchens?
Ray Kitchens was raised in the Dover, Florida area. He went to Turkey Creek High School, met Shirley Lott (from Plant City), fell in love, and produced two incredible children, Rhonda & Sherrie =0). Ray raised his family in Dover and lived there all his life. He proudly served his country for 6 years in the National Guard. Ray worked for over 48 years as an Estimator for Superior Paving in Lakeland, Florida. He was a hard-working man and sacrificed everything for his family. He loved nature and loved to fish. There's a bench dedicated to Ray at Medard Park (5726 Panther Loop, Plant City, FRay Kitchens Bench at Medard ParkL 33567), his favorite fishing spot. The park rangers erected this bench in honor of him and his deep love for the park and it's beauty. The bench has his name engraved on the front and his daughter Sherrie etched a woodburned plaque that's affixed to the back that features an image of him fishing in the park with the words, "Live, Love, Laugh, Fish!" with a Jesus fish. You're invited to sit on daddy's bench and revel in the glory before you and think about all of the people and gifts that God has given you.

Ray was also an excellent artist and would sit, fish and sketch Florida's River Waterscapes. He loved the river's natural flowing beauty and the peace that it brought. He passed his artistic gifts and inspiration on to his daughters and his wife, who now, all three, paint and do art shows together, and have work in several art galleries in the Tampa Bay Area.

Ray Kitchens was a loving father and caring husband. We lost him on November 6, 2007. This Memorial Run is to honor his memory, and to change this heartbreaking week into something glorious for my family, other families, and by supporting the angelic services that Hospice provides.

If it weren't for Hospice’s gentle, physical care of my dad, and emotional support, I don't think I would be here. The sheer agony of watching my father die was almost more than I could bear. Hospice allowed my father to pass in comfort, with dignity, in his own home.

Hospice gives Care, Dignity, and Respect... things money can’t buy.

My family and I, with the help of the community, hope to raise a record-setting amount in order for Hospice to proliferate their angelic duties here on earth.

My parents taught my sister and I that you do what you can to help others in life. Always show people love, support, and kindness...and it will be returned to you many times over.


They say that love spans all time. That love never ends. The Ray Kitchens family knows this to be true in their hearts.
Sherrie, Ray's daughter, truly thought her world was over when she lost her beloved, father and best friend, on November 6th last year. "The anniversary of my daddy’s passing was coming up and the sadness was just so overwhelming. I had to do something. I felt the need to do something amazing. Something that would help transition myself and my family through this deeply hurtful time. I know the only way to heal a deep hurt is to pour yourself into helping others." she said. It was then the idea of doing a charity benefit for Hospice became the focus of her quest. "If it weren’t for Hospice coming in and helping with my father, caring for him so kindly and respectfully, I don’t know what we would have done. Not only did they provide us with a doctor, a nurse, and a weekly nursing assistant, they came to the door with medicine, and medical equipment so he could be cared for with comfort and ease in his own home. Plus, sent a wonderful Social worker in to counsel us."
"A benefit for Hospice was our first and only choice, because of the care and respect that they provided to my father and the amazing things they do for other individuals and families in the community. They're not only there for end of life care, they also help anyone that needs care, regardless of income."
And so The 1st Annual Ray Kitchens Memorial Pirate Treasure Benefit for LifePath Hospice was set into motion. The event will feature a Pirate-themed road run (not a race) for any vehicle type. Participants donate $20 to Hospice, then dressed in their pirate rags, they will follow a Treasure Map to earn chances to win prizes.

The route flows through 3 counties, and 6 stops, winding across land and sea, and ending at Quaker Steak & Lube where there will be prize giveaways and live entertainment.
The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant's Pirates Cove, Jim's on the Pass, plus other John's Pass Shops, will be hosting a Silent Auction (third stop) with incredible items, such as trips, food, art and more!
Rhonda, Ray's other daughter will be orchestrating the Arts-n-Treasures Show, and a Car and Custom Bike show (also a part of the Run), that's being held the same day from 12-8 at Quaker Steak & Lube. In the interim Shirley, Ray's wife, and Shirley's sister, Nancy Wright will be manning the first Checkpoint at Fletcher's Harley-Davidson.
When Sherrie was asked how the process of planning has affected her life, she comments "This is a very emotional event for me. The outpouring of caring and support from the community has been just amazing. I don’t know what the attendance will be in such a poor economy, but the sheer power of being surrounded by such incredible people will be already has been."

"This one’s for you, daddy!"

Thank You, Aqua Team-Tampa

I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair. –Alfred Lord Tennyson

Daddy and his loving pug, Jada. July 2007

When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little but not too long,
And not with your head held low.

Remember the love we once shared,
Miss me but let me go.

It’s all part of the loving Master’s Plan,
this journey we each make alone,

So savor each step, show your love, on
the glorious path to home.

When you’re lonely and sick of heart,
Go to friends we know,

Bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me but let me go.

I miss you daddy. This one's for you...

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