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Darel M. Ray

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Darel M. Ray, 78, passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer on Thursday, July 19, 2012, in Alamogordo. He was born Oct. 20, 1933, in Wilson, Okla., to Walter S. and Orba L. (Norman) Ray.
Darel's life career began by attending the University of Oklahoma on an athletic scholarship, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1960. He later earned his master's degree from Webster University.
His military career began with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served two years. He later joined the U.S. Air Force, where he enjoyed a prestigious career as a field maintenance commander serving three isolated tours in Vietnam. He was officer in charge of the Thunderbird crash investigative team in Nevada and was a military adviser to Saudi Arabia.
He was recognized with numerous awards and medals, including the Bronze Star Medal, FTD Commander of the Year and the Meritorious Service Award. He was a Roman Catholic convert active in religious instruction and member of several committees. Darel was a member of the 1956 national champion Oklahoma Sooners football team and was awarded a game ball from the 1959 Orange Bowl.
He was also a Division I college quarterback coach at the University of Oklahoma, Baylor University and Arizona State University.
His interests included football, thoroughbred race horses, classic cars, gold panning with lifelong friend Don Marr, pool, model trains, guns and he loved to go to garage sales.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mabel L. Ray; sons Darel Duane Ray, of Ruidoso, David Ray and wife, Robin, of Eunice, and Dennis Ray, of Alamogordo; five grandchildren, Darel Duane Jr. (D.J.) and wife, Angie, of Medford, Ore., Kysha McBee and husband, Robby, of Eunice, Jordan Ray, of Ruidoso, and Brittany and Denise Ray, of Alamogordo; five great-grandchildren, Madison, Kyron, Akasha, Shya and Carson; and sisters-in-law Terrie Ray, JoAnn Marrujo and Lilly Aguilar.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter S. and Orba L. Ray; in-laws J.R. and Sophie Sanchez; and brother Duane O. Ray.
The rosary will be recited for Darel M. Ray by Father Josh at 9 a.m. Friday, July 27, 2012, at St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church in Tularosa. Mass of the Resurrection will follow the rosary at 9:30 a.m.
Honorary pallbearers include D. Duane Ray Jr. (D.J.), Duane O. Ray Jr., Robby McBee, John Joe Marrujo, Reney Marrujo, Charles Marrujo, Mark Fowler and Donald Marr.
Inurnment will follow at the Sacred Heart Cemetery.
Should friends desire, contributions may be made to any cancer research foundation.
The Ray family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the arrangements. Cremation will take place locally at PCS.
To sign the online register book, please visit
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 22 to Aug. 23, 2012
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