Norma Ray

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  • "My prayers are with the family. She was a fine lady and I..."
    - Patty "Ray" Dawson
  • "So many memories...growing up down the street from the..."
    - Chari Meadows-Elam
  • "I loved Mamma Ray! I enjoyed spending time with her and..."
    - Shirley Nix
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    - Dana Shultz
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    - Lynda Pyle (Perry)
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Aka Mrs. Leonard Franklin Ray (Mrs. L. Frank Ray)

Norma Maclin Ray (Mrs. L. Frank Ray), a long time resident of Longview and Conroe, Texas, died at her home in Conroe, on Friday, January 23rd, 2015. The homemaker and elementary school secretary was 99 years old. Thankfully her mental acuity and memory remained intact until her last few days.

Born Norma Florine Maclin, July 18, 1915, in Royse City, Texas, her parents were Robert Edwin "Bob" Maclin, the City Marshall, and Marie Elizabeth "Bess" Coleman Maclin. She was the first of five children. In the 1920's, Bob was elected Sheriff of Rockwall County and the family moved to Rockwall. One of Norma's early memories was the worry of hearing that her dad was on patrol or stake-out duty for the notorious "Bonnie & Clyde."

Norma moved to Longview in the mid 1930's, because two events brought tragedy to their family: Bess was severely injured in a pressure cooker accident, and though she survived the extensive scalding injuries, Bess contracted pneumonia and died that next December; A short time later, Bob's health began to fail, so the family could not remain intact. While younger siblings, Bob (Jr.), Kay, and Sam, went to the Woodman Circle Home in Sherman, and sister Jean joined relatives in Henrietta, Norma went to live with her mother's sister in Longview, Aunt Eff, and Uncle Jess (Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Akin).

Norma enrolled in the Bish Mathis Institute and began working for the East Texas Chamber of Commerce. Later she worked for the General Motors Acceptance Corporation and was an active member, as were the Akins, in the First Baptist Church of Longview.

It was there that Norma met Frank Ray, the son of James Fletcher Ray (who died in 1926) and Alice McLendon Ray of the Judson community. Alice Ray was a Baptist Sunday School teacher (as well as a public school teacher), and a colleague of Aunt Eff in the Women's Missionary Union. They both encouraged the budding relationship, and after Frank graduated from Texas A&M, and began teaching at Judson High School (Science and Vocational Agriculture), Norma and Frank were married in November, 1937.

Three children were born to Frank and Norma Ray: Ann (1940), James (1941), and Frank, Jr. (1944). Norma was an active homemaker as the children grew. In 1954, they moved to Conroe, where Frank continued teaching (High School Science and Biology), and Norma resumed work outside their home, this time as the Secretary for an elementary school. They continued to live in Conroe as their children went to College and began their own careers. Ann attended Baylor and became a school teacher. During the war in Southeast Asia she worked for the USO. James and Frank, Jr. went to Texas A&M, then became pilots and career officers in the US Air Force, both veterans of the Vietnam War.

Norma and Frank both retired in 1979, continuing to live in Conroe. In 1987 Norma and Frank celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. They actively participated in the Baptist Church; the Houston Garden Club, growing Azaleas, Bromeliads, and Camelias; East Texas bird watching groups; the Montgomery County Historical and Geneological Society; and community gardening. Norma actively supported the Aaron Burleson and the Coushatta Trace Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and the Daughters of 1812. Frank Ray died in 1992 from an inoperable brain cancer, and Norma continued to live in the Conroe home they built in 1956, where she remained for over 58 years, until her death. Norma Maclin Ray was less than six months from her 100th birthday.

Norma Ray was preceded in death by her husband Frank, and sister Leta Kate "Kay" Todd (spouse Jerry, d.). Survivors include sister Jean Maclin Vines (spouse Buck, d.) of Baton Rouge; brothers Robert Edwin Maclin, Jr. and wife, Doris, of Lexington, KY; and Samuel Earl Maclin (spouse Jane, d.) of San Antonio; children Ann Ray Duncan Farrar and husband Don of Lindale; James Edwin Ray and wife Sue Lynn of New Hope; and L. Frank Ray, Jr. and wife Mary Lynn of Wimauma, FL;

Grandchildren Leigh Duncan Durst (Brent), Lincoln Ray (Rhonda), David Ray (Kat), Lance Ray (Amy), Shawn Duncan, Melissa Lessard (Greg), and Lisa Villado (Anton);

Great grandchildren: Raina Campbell, Rylan Campbell, Alyssa Duncan, Rhese Campbell, Lacey Ray, Abigail Villado, Margaret Lessard, Eden Ray, Stephen Villado, Penelope Lessard;

Nieces, nephews and cousins: Too numerous to list, but just as "the hairs of your head are numbered," Aunt Norma enjoyed and cared about and loved them all!

The memorial and funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, January 31st, at the Rader Funeral Home Chapel at 1617 Judson Road, in Longview. A private burial will take place at the family's New Providence Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Wycliff Bible Translators, or any other preferred charity.

Funeral Home
Rader Funeral Home
1617 Judson Road
Longview, TX 75601
(903) 753-3373
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Published on from Jan. 27 to Feb. 9, 2015
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