Bill Miller formed the company in 1948. Ray bought the company in 1979 after Miller retired.
“Miller Real Estate and Appraisal is one of the oldest real estate firms in Tennessee,” said Ray.
The company now occupies space on 2nd Street.
Robby Ray joined his dad just after Jimmy bought the company.
“Robby manages the appraisal section,” said Jimmy.
“It has grown tremendously throughout the years and is our primary business at this time,” he added.
But there was a long road to follow before Ray reached retirement.
Jimmy went into semi-retirement, but still continues to work some “deals.”
Ray served in the military during two wars.
He was drafted at 18 and in just a few weeks, was sent to Germany during World War II.
“I weighed 130 pounds and they threw us out there to fight for our lives,” said Ray. In 1950, Ray was called up to serve the country once more.
By this time, the Korean War had begun and he had a little leverage so he applied for a safer position.
For two years, Ray traveled the country delivering some of its dead war sons.
“I brought 23 soldiers back to their families, presented them with flags at their funerals. It was a sad time,” said Ray.
“I even had the duty of returning to Cleveland with one of our war dead,” he said.
He couldn’t recall the exact year, but Ray said that Roy Lee Whaley died during the Korean War and he presented the U.S. Flag to the surviving family during the funeral.
After leaving the military, Ray went to work with the State Employment Service. Today, in just about the exact spot, he still sits today doing real estate work.
“I bought the building in 1979— the same building where I began working when it was the employment office and my desk was right about here,” said Ray as he reflected on times past.
The original location for Miller Real Estate was at the corner of 1st and Church streets.
“I wanted to do some of the things I never got to do. Working in business sometimes required 12 to 15 hour days and I followed that schedule for many years. Even though I am semi-retired, I continue to be very active in the business,” said Ray.
Ray sees a great future in real estate locally.
He has been married to wife Hildred for 60 years. The Rays have son Robby, daughter Natalie and one grandchild.
Ray said the real estate business has been good to him and his family and says that he can hold his head high because he feels through the years, he always made sure his clients were happy. He attributed his personality and work ethic to being raised poor.
“I encouraged clients to think about the property or home they were considering to purchase,” he said.
“The business has been very good to us, but my greatest accomplishment in business is that I was always honest and never misled or mistreated anyone with whom I was doing business,” Ray said.