Raymond Dudley Rinker Jr. of Plano, Texas, formerly of Nacogdoches, Texas, lived a full and generous life. He was born in Winchester, Va. in July of 1932 to Raymond Dudley Rinker and Elizabeth Wright Rinker. Shortly after his mother's death in 1933, Ray moved to Nacogdoches and was raised by his grandparents, M.S. and Elizabeth Wright. Upon graduation from Nacogdoches High School, Ray attended Stephen F. Austin State College and joined the Sawyers. He left college to serve his country in the United States Air Force
, where he earned the rank of second lieutenant. He served three years, nine months and two days all in Texas as a crew chief on a B17. After his discharge from the Air Force and service to our country, Ray began working with his grandfather in 1956 at Texas Farm Products serving as manager of the Farm Products division. In 1971 he served as vice president of Texas Farm Products, in 1984 as senior vice president, semi-retiring as one of the board members in 1991 and entered full retirement in 2000. Ray loved baseball! In 1968 he joined the Nacogdoches Baseball Association as its first business manager. Ray was instrumental in forming a contingent of Nacogdoches baseball players, fans and volunteers to join a National Governing Association that allowed Nacogdoches to compete on a regional and national level with other towns the size of Nacogdoches. This move began the Nacogdoches relationship with the Dixie Baseball Association and the relationship endured for over 40 years. In 1979, Ray was named as the National Director for Dixie Baseball and served in this capacity as a volunteer for 15 years. Prior to Ray's retirement from Dixie Baseball, the 1978 Nacogdoches Dixie Boys team won Nacogdoches' first Dixie State Championship and became the first Nacogdoches team to participate in the Dixie World Series. It was at this tournament that Ray realized Nacogdoches would be a perfect spot to host a Dixie World Series Tournament. After thousands of volunteer hours and two years of convincing university and city officials and business leaders and rounding up volunteers, Ray and his slew of friends and volunteers brought the 1980 Dixie World Series to town! It was a big event and the first of two World Series events held in Nacogdoches that individually brought over 10,000 visitors and townspeople together! The people of the Nacogdoches community meant a lot to Ray. He served as the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and served on the chamber's executive board. In 1968, Ray became a member of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club
. He later received the Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow award whose motto is "service above self." In addition to his commitment to the Rotarians, Ray served as a Commercial National Bank board member. Ray bled Lumberjack purple and white! He was a big fan and supporter of Stephen F. Austin athletics and active supporter of the university for many years. He was the originator of the project to make the Sawyers into a chapter of the national fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi. He was instrumental in establishing in his uncles name, the Dick Wright Memorial Award, which is presented annually to one SFA student athlete who displays the most desire, determination and dedication to his or her sport. During the 1970s, Ray spent many hours volunteering his time to film Lumberjack games and piloted university administrators and fans to a number of games. In fact, there were many nights following a road game that Ray would land in Tyler on his way home to drop off game film to have it developed in time for the football team to review on Sundays! He was a key contributor in the creation of the SFA Athletic Fund Drive in the early 1980s. His support helped SFA athletics move from Division II to Division I of the NCAA. Ray was among the first supporters to be named to the prestigious Jacks of Honors Lettermen's Association in 1983. In 1997 Ray received the Stephen F. Austin Distinguished Alumnus Award. He and his wife are both life members of the Alumni Association, where Ray served on the board of directors for many years, including several as vice president. Outside of baseball and SFA, Ray loved Jack Daniels Green Label, his wife's chocolate brownie pie, antique cars, a good joke and flying airplanes, until an aneurism grounded him in 1985. He passed away Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. His quick wit and sense of humor will be greatly missed. Rays father preceded him in death in 1973. He is survived by the love of his life of 56 years, Betty Hale Rinker, whom he met in a summer history class at Stephen F. Austin, and his two sons, their wives and five granddaughters: Raymond D. Rinker III, Julie (an SFA graduate), and daughters, Megan, Molly and Maddy; and Robert H. Rinker, Kim, and daughters, Haley and Sadie. He is also survived by his father's wife, Ruth Rinker of Stephens City, Va. and their sons, Randy and his wife, Jane, of Orlando, Fla. and Dudley and his wife, Tootie, of Stephens City. The family would like to thank the caregivers at The Legacy at Willowbend in Plano, Texas and especially Pam Lencioni and Sook Oh for their support during the last several years for their special attention, love and concern for Ray. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, with a reception following immediately afterwards in the reception hall. Honorary pallbearers will be the membership of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club. Memorial donations may be made to the Ray Rinker Scholarship, SFASU Alumni Foundation, P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station, Nacogdoches, Texas 75961, or Westminster Presbyterian Church, 903 North Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75961. Laird Funeral Home.