Ray Vencill, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in state history, passed away on Friday at his home in Elizabethtown.

He was 83.

Vencill coached high school basketball for 16 seasons and took two teams to the championship game of the state tournament -- Madison High and Elizabethtown.

The Madison Purples qualified for the state tournament in 1969 and in 1970 advanced to the title game before falling to Male, 70-69.

At Elizabethtown, Vencill guided the Panthers to three Sweet Sixteen appearances -- 1972, 1975 and 1978. He won more than 300 games and he was named Kentucky's Coach of the Year three times.

He was inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

Vencill was born in Russellville and moved to Elizabethtown in 1952. He graduated from Elizabethtown High School in 1954 and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University, where he played basketball and earned his Rank I Degree.

Vencill taught and coached basketball eight years at Madison High School in Richmond and accepted a teaching/basketball coaching job at Elizabethtown High School, where he coached eight years, then served as principal at Helmwood Heights Elementary School until his retirement in 1992.

Vencill served his country as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and as a Captain in the Reserves. He was an avid fisherman, golfer and a proud member of Severns Valley Baptist Church.

Vencill was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Estelle Vencill.

He is survived by his wife of sixty one years, Betty Correll Vencill; children, Vicky Stewart (Joe) of Elizabethtown and Patti Antone (Ralph) of Louisville; grandchildren, Summer Langley (Drew), Taylor Donahue (Ryan), Chandler and Jack Antone; great grandchildren, Cash, Stella, Hadley, Eliza Kate, Anne-Vencill and Livy Clark; siblings, Larry Vencill (Sylvia) and Gary Vencill all of Richmond and Pat Durbin (Hade) of Elizabethtown.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.today followed by a Celebration of Ray's Life starting at 3 p.m. in the worship center of Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown with Pastor Bill Langley officiating.

Burial will follow in Elizabethtown City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his memory to St. Jude Children's Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105-3678 or Elizabethtown High School Boys Basketball Program, 620 North Mulberry Street, Elizabethtown, KY 42701, Severns Valley Baptist Church Building Fund, 1100 Ring Road, Elizabethtown, KY 42701 or Hosparus of Central Kentucky, P.O. BOX 2149, Elizabethtown, KY 42702.

Condolences may be expressed online at www.brownfuneral.com.

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