Levon L. Ray WACO-Levon L. Ray, husband, father, war veteran, research scientist, and friend of many went to his heavenly home on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Poolville United Methodist Church with Rev Dave Goodrich and his grandson, Rev Chris Cobb, officiating. Burial will follow in Poolville Cemetery. Levon was born on Sept. 16, 1918, in Poolville to John Thomas Ray and Emma (Mader) Ray. He married Marjorie Ruth Freiley on Aug. 6, 1943, in Springtown, Texas. They lived most of their married life in Lubbock. Levon graduated from Poolville High School, Weatherford College, and received a BS and MS in Agriculture from Texas Tech University and his PhD in 1957 from Texas A&M University. In 1941 he was commissioned as an Aviation Cadet, completed his training, and then served as a B-17 navigator from 1941 through 1943, flying 50 combat missions with the 97th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force, in both the European and North African Theaters. He was the navigator in the B-17 Fortress that led the first American heavy bomber mission into Europe. Levon was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with an Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal on several occasions. After the war, he joined the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. During his 37 year career as a research agronomist, Dr. Ray pioneered several cotton varieties adapted to the Texas High Plains. Dr. Ray received numerous agricultural awards and other recognitions including Outstanding Agriculturist (1974) and Distinguished Alumni (1986) from Texas Tech University, Weatherford College Distinguished Alumni (1995), Progressive Farmer's Man of the Year in Southwestern Agriculture for 1971, and a Superior Service Award from the USDA. Upon retirement, he was a Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University. His beloved wife of 66 years, Marjorie, preceded him in death in March 2009. He was a wonderful, loving husband; a father and beloved life-navigator for two sons, Mickey Ray of Rockport and Tom Ray of Waco. Levon loved the Lord and was a devoted longtime member of Asbury United Methodist Church in Lubbock. After more than 45 years in Lubbock, he and Marjorie moved back to the family farm in Poolville where they were active members of the Poolville United Methodist Church. In 2008, they moved to Waco to be near family. Survivors include sons, Mickey Ray of Rockport and his wife Pat; Tom Ray and wife Sandy of Waco; grandchildren, Cari Tasin and husband Trevor of New Braunfels; Kristie Hogg and her husband Gary of Corpus Christi; Kelly Cobb and husband Chris of Benbrook; Allison Farrar and husband Pat of Waco; Larren Silver and wife Kera of Snyder; Kyle Ray and wife Bonnie of Waco; Brandon Ray of Waco; and eighteen great-grandchildren at last count. Pallbearers will be his grandsons. Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guest book at www.LakeShoreFuneralHome.com.
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Lake Shore Funeral Home
5201 Steinbeck Bend
Waco, TX 76708
Published in The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Jan. 10, 2014