Kenneth Ray Stansberry March 25, 1948 – May 13, 2023
Celebration of Life
May 27, 2023
Kenneth Ray Stansberry of Tehachapi completed his final lap on May 13. Ray was surrounded by his wife and family at the time of his passing.
Ray was born in Burbank, California on March 25, 1948. After high school, Ray served his country in Vietnam. Upon his return from war, Ray opened his first business and met the woman who would soon become his wife of 51 years. They had two sons together, raising them in Palmdale before moving to Tehachapi. Ray supported his family as a businessman in the automotive service industry with businesses in Lawndale, Palmdale, Lancaster and Tehachapi. In 2015, after 40 years in business, Ray retired.
Ray had three loves in life, his wife, his family and racing. Everyone who knew Ray knew that he adored his wife Nellie without question, they were truly partners in life. They traveled together, worked together and built a marriage together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. His final attempt at making a phone call was to try and call Nellie to tell her he loved her. He didn't get to make the call but was, fortunately, able to tell her he loved her the very next morning.
His second love was his family who he would move heaven and earth to support. Ray's two boys and five grandchildren were his pride and joy. He was always their biggest fan and made sure to be present in their lives. They were a constant source of joy in Ray's life, especially after his retirement. If he was unable to make it to one of their events, he would often call to find out how it went before they had even had the chance to make it home.
Ray's third love was his racing family. He spent most of his life following short track racing and raced at tracks in and around Southern California up until the early 80s when he hung up his steering wheel to raise his family. In 1992, he made his return to racing, competing in dwarf cars with the California Dwarf Car Racing Association, where he also served as treasurer. Later, he made racing a family affair and fielded dwarf cars and sprint cars for both his sons and his own father. As a driver, Ray won several main events and shared his success with his family. Among other accolades as a car owner, Ray won the 1995 CDCRA Championship, the 2003 VRA Championship and the 2004 VRA Championship with his son at the wheel. Ray eventually stopped racing and shifted his role from car owner and driver to track official at Ventura Raceway. Ray cherished the many people he met in his years at the track with whom he shared many great memories.
Ray is survived by his wife, Nellie Stansberry; his two sons, Kenneth Stansberry, and Thomas Stansberry; his daughter-in-law, Lindsay Stansberry; and his grandchildren, Tyler Stansberry, Riley Stansberry, Allison Flores, Zachary Stansberry, and Addison Stansberry.
Ray was preceded in death by his mother, Adina Fleming; father, Kenneth Stansberry; brother, Norman Stansberry; sister, Beverly Stansberry; and sister, Shirley Stansberry.
Funeral Services were held at the Bakersfield National Cemetery on May 26, at 10 a.m. The family would like to thank all their friends and loved ones for their messages and prayers during this time. We are truly grateful.
Wood Family Funeral Service has been entrusted with his care. For condolences, please visit http://www.woodmortuary.net.