Reverend, veteran and former police officer from Hazard dies

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Rev. Dr. John Pray, a loved community member, died Saturday morning at the age of 84 years old.

Reverend John Pray

Rev. Dr. John Pray held many titles throughout his life. From veteran and pastor to father and police officer. Those close to him said that no matter his title, he always put others first.

"First and foremost he was a Godly man, he was always looking out for others, it was always others first,” said Emerson Combs, Deacon at the First Baptist Church Town Mountain.

Pray was in the U.S. Army from 1951-1955 during the Korean War. After the war his work in the line or service did not end, he was a police officer in Philadelphia for nine years until moving to Hazard in 1969 after his family began to grow.

“My father being a man of his word had no choice but to move his wife and children to Hazard, Kentucky so you can imagine it was a huge cultural shock for him,” said Steven Pray, Rev. John’s son.

Once Pray moved to Hazard, he became a loved and respected leader in the community.

“They knew when he spoke, everybody listened,” said Keith Pray, Rev. John’s son.

In a 2012 interview, Rev. John Pray told WYMT his dream was to better the lives of the people in his community, but his world.

“I've seen so many changes for the better for our community as well as our nation and so we're still working toward that dream,” said Rev. John Pray.

Viewing for Rev. Dr. John Pray will be Aug. 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Maggard Brothers Funeral Home. The Funeral will be Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church Town Mountain.

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