John Jackson Raley Jr.,

John Jackson Raley Jr., 72, of Valley Lee, MD passed away Thursday, November 1, 2018 at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on March 27, 1946 in Leonardtown, MD to the late John Jackson Raley, Sr. and Eva Elizabeth “Sally” Burroughs Raley.

John was a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County. On February 27, 1968 he was drafted in the United States Army and proudly served his country in the Vietnam War until his honorable discharge on October 4, 1969. During his service he earned the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. John was a 1974 graduate of St. Mary’s College and was proud that his children are alumni as well. In his early years, jobs included working on his grandparent’s tobacco farm, construction with his father, as a janitor for B & B Maintenance, as a Jr. Firemen for the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department, and for the USDA Soil Conservation Service. From 1977 to 2005, John was a dedicated employee of the State of Maryland, Department of Social Services, eventually advancing to the position of Program Manager-Welfare Reform and developed a model of data collection for the state.

On May 5, 1979 John married his wife, Denise Golden Raley, and they celebrated over 39 wonderful years of marriage in their unique A-Frame house by the Potomac River. In retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling to America’s National Parks, with his favorite area being the Southwest.  They traveled to Italy where they learned wood fired pizza making, which they continued to practice at home. John’s love and knowledge of history inspired trips to England, Scotland, Normandy (FR), Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, and Germany. He also enjoyed family trips to Niagara Falls, the Caribbean, Northern California, and Alaska. His hobbies through the years included boating, fishing, camping, skiing, scuba diving, caving, and playing sports. “Johnny” won many dance contests and was a professional on the air guitar. He faithfully went to the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival held at Sandy Point State Park every year.  John was a season ticket holder for the Washington Redskins from 1999 to 2013. He was an avid baseball fan, first for the Washington Senators, and then the Washington Nationals.

John’s family was his greatest joy! He especially loved the time he spent with his children and grandchildren.  Affectionately known by his grandchildren as “Granddad and D-Dad,” he liked to play with them on the beach, read them books with dramatic expression, and go boating and fishing. With an animated style, John was always the best storyteller to friends and family. He was also known by his friends and neighbors as the “Mayor” because he helped them look after their summer homes and was up on the latest news of the neighborhood since he befriended everyone. He was also called the “Pied Piper” because he was a kid at heart and children gravitated to him.  John was an unforgettable character who you could call on and count on. He was a jack of all trades and quite the handy man. He enjoyed doing his own home renovations, car maintenance, wood cutting, and lawn care. He supported the local community as a member of the American Legion and as a volunteer with St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen, United Way, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  He served for several years on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and earned the Volunteer of the Year award at the Soup Kitchen in 2015.

In addition to his beloved wife Denise, he is also survived by his son John Ryan Raley (Lisa) of Edgewater, MD and daughter Sarah Golden Raley-Dale (Mark) of Valley Lee, MD; his siblings: Esther Redman of Annapolis; MD, Charles Raley of Mechanicsville, MD; Betsy Norris of Towson, MD; Ray Raley (Kathie) of Mechanicsville, MD, Mollie Raley Hall (Steve) of Dover, DE; and Jackie King (Steve) of Catonsville, MD; his grandchildren: Jordan and Kendal Raley, and Zara and Alora Dale; his close family friend, Colin McHugh; his godson, Joshua Brown; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.

Family will receive friends on Monday, November 12, 2018 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm, with a prayer service at 2:00 pm, at Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., 22955 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650; St. Mary’s Caring, 20850 Langley Rd, Lexington Park, MD 20653; and, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, 30065 Business Center Dr. #2, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622.

Condolences to the family may be made at

Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A.

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