Dr. Steven Ramer Lay, 77, of Cleveland, TN, passed away on March 1, 2022. He was a resident of the area for 24 years. He was born in Los Angeles on November 28, 1944. He graduated from Aurora University (Illinois) with a double major in mathematics and Bible in 1966. He earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1971. During that time, he met his wife, Ann, through a mutual friend.
He began his teaching career at Aurora University in 1971 where he taught for 19 years. In 1990, he and his wife and family responded to God’s call to serve as missionaries in Japan. Upon his return to the States in 1998, he joined the mathematics faculty at Lee University (Tennessee) where he taught until he retired in 2019. He supported his brother David in refining and expanding the scope of David’s popular linear algebra textbook, Linear Algebra and Its Applications. Steven is also the author of three college-level mathematics textbooks: Convex Sets and Their Applications, Analysis with an Introduction to Proof, and Principles of Algebra as well as a booklet entitled The Mathematics of Evolution which supported his interest in Creation Science and connected his passion for both mathematics and the Bible. In addition, he wrote a textbook entitled Japanese: Language and Culture, which he used in a cross-cultural course he taught about Japan at Lee University.
In 1985, Steven received the Excellence in Teaching Award at Aurora University. He and David, and their father, Dr. L. Clark Lay, were all distinguished mathematicians, and in 1989 they jointly received the Outstanding Alumnus award from their alma mater, Aurora University. In 2006, Steven was honored to receive the Excellence in Scholarship Award at Lee University. Although he was skilled at teaching a wide range of math courses, he had a particularly deep desire to help those students who struggled to understand basic math concepts.
Aside from mathematics, Steven enjoyed woodworking, gardening, and music. His interest in music prompted him to compose a love song for Ann and sing it at their wedding. Later he wrote an anthem for his church choir. He also enjoyed singing in the choir and playing the piano. Although he was extremely gifted in many areas, he was a very gentle and approachable man and humbly used his gifts to honor his Lord and Savior. He and his wife Ann raised two wonderful Christian children both of whom currently work at Lee University. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, brother, and grandfather.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. L. Clark and Florence Lay, and his brother Dr. David C. Lay (1941-2018). He is survived by his loving wife Ann of 50 years; his daughter BethAnn and her husband Mark Wiedenbenner of Cleveland, TN; his son Dr. Timothy R. Lay and his wife Elisabeth of Benton, TN; and three grandchildren: Isaiah Wiedenbenner, Katelynn Lay and Benjamin Lay. His namesake, Andrew Steven Lay, is expected in June.
The family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 13th at Lee University Chapel, located at 1020 N. Ocoee St. Cleveland, TN 37311. A Celebration of Life Service will follow beginning at 3 p.m. with Rev. Ron Thomas officiating.
You are invited to share a personal memory of Steven or your condolences with his family at his online memorial located at www.companionfunerals.com . Companion Funeral & Cremation Service Cleveland Chapel and the Cody family are honored to assist the Lay family with these arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lay Family Mathematics Assistantship, which provides monetary support for student workers in the Mathematics Department at Lee University. You can mail a check written to Lee University with “Lay Family Assistantship” in the memo line to Lee University, Central Gifts, P.O. Box 3450, Cleveland, TN 37320-3450. Or you can give online at www.leeuniversity.edu/give. When the form loads, click Lay Family Assistantship from the fund drop down box. Or you can call Lee University at 423-614-8310 or 1-800-614-8000 and ask for University Relations (ext. 8310).