The most amazing husband, father, grandfather, and friend left this earth so peacefully on October 24, 2020 with his sons by his side, in Amarillo, Texas at Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center. Jimmy Ray was born in Tucumcari, NM on October 21, 1940. He grew up in Dalhart, Texas, where he attended school until he enlisted into the Texas National Guard in 1956. Jimmy Ray enlisted into the US Army on November 17, 1959 and was a Communication Specialist. Jimmy Ray was stationed in Ft. Bliss, Texas and spent 13 months in Seoul, South Korea. Jimmy Ray and his family moved to Liberal, Kansas after his time in the service and worked in construction, where he helped build the helium plant, hospital, and many other projects. He drove a truck for Baroid Drilling throughout SW Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas for many years and concurrently worked at Tradewinds as the paint foreman. In conjunction with his jobs, he officiated high school football and basketball and umpired semi-pro baseball for the Liberal Bee Jay's. J.R. saved all his officiant money so he could take his sons to wrestling tournaments throughout SW Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. In 1972, J.R. started working at Yellow Freight systems as a weekend dispatcher and then promoted to a Safety Supervisor, where he worked until his retirement in 1997. In 1975, Yellow Freight transferred Jimmy Ray to Albuquerque, NM, where he and his family lived for one year and then onto his home residence in Tucumcari, NM, where his family settled, and were blessed a community of friends. During his tenure at Yellow Freight, Jimmy Ray made very special friendships with the NM State Police among many other law enforcement entities throughout New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma and was an honored friend to them all. Retirement was not for Jimmy Ray, so he went back to work and tried his hand at being a dispatcher for the Tucumcari PD, kitchen foreman at Wackenhut Prisons, and drove for Renzenberger and Premier Transportation. Jimmy Ray also was our own personal movie star, in which he, and many members of his family were extras in the movie, "Believe In Me."
J.R., is preceded in death by one of his most special treasures, his daughter, Racheal Marie who left this earth 37 days before him; twin grandsons, Jacob and Jordan; Great-grandson, Bobby Javier Prieto III; Parents, Santiago Lito Montoya and Josephine Ramirez; Mother and Father-In-Laws, Cleo and Reynaldo Encinias and Mary and Al Velasquez; Aunts/Uncles who he considered his siblings: Manuel (Molly) Ramirez; Phillip (Ida) Ramirez; Isabel Casaz, Gavina Dye, Ramona Ulibarri, and Angelita White; Grandparents, Ascension and Cristina Ramirez.
J.R. is survived by his spouse of 61 years, Maxine, who he loved so much he married her twice (civil/church). Together he and his Maki, as he endearingly called her, raised a beautiful family and they were his pride and joy: Theresa and James Griego of Logan, NM; James Montoya of Dallas, TX; Richard and Brenda Montoya of Lubbock TX; Michael and Amy Montoya of Amarillo Texas; Trina and Richard Griego of Clovis, NM; Matthew and Katie Montoya of Santa Fe, NM; and Jamie Montoya of Tucumcari, NM. Son-In-Law, Jeff Pacheco; 15 Grandchildren; 18 Great-Grandchildren; and 2 Great-Great Grandchildren: Manny (Chastity) and their children---JoJo (Ezziah and Melania), Mikaylah, Joseph, Layla, and Emmanuel; Eloisa and her children---Heaven, Brianna, and Elizabeth; Melinda, Melisa (Mike) and their children---Marissa and Myka; Mandy (Andy) and their children---Mallory and Madison; Isaiah (Elaine) and their children---Blakelynn, Isabella, and Cameron; Sinae (Mike) and their children---Daxton and Henley; Mariah (Sam) and their children Benjamin and Rylee; Kristen Beltran, Gabriel Montoya (Isaac), Jacob Montoya, Joshua Montoya, Dalton Griego, Seth Griego (SMIG), and McKenna Montoya; Sister, Patsy of Oklahoma City. Jimmy Ray is also survived by his Uncle Selso Ramirez, who he loved and respected greatly, and his wife Josie.
J.R.'s favorite role was being a grandpa. He spent over 30 years of his life traveling around the countryside, supporting and watching them play golf, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, softball, wrestling, and soccer. All his grandchildren will tell you that he was their #1 fan and always looked forward to grandpa in the stands or on the golf course. He had nicknames for all of them (as he did most people) and they will always be a cherished keepsake that will stay with them forever.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons: Manny Lucero; Isaiah Montoya, Gabriel Montoya, Jacob Montoya, Joshua Montoya, Dalton Griego, and Seth Griego.
In 1983, J.R. gathered up a group of current and former Tucumcari Rattler athletes, at the request of his son, James, to start a softball team. These young men became the ExSports, who then became our family. These young men considered J.R. a mentor and father figure throughout their life. It was important to him that they also be named his Honorary Pallbearers: Troy Brown, Tony Alarcon, Rusty Wilcox, Laurence Sena, Danny Garcia, Eric Rivera, Bobby Hines, Wayne Ferguson, Mike Downs, Ronnie Davis, Phillip Beltran, Ben White, Don Bell, John Span, Eddie Encinias, Kevin Bond, Bubba Velasquez, Selso Ramirez, Jr, and Chris Jasper. Some of these men have left us and are reunited with my dad in heaven and they include: Harold Ferguson (coach), Rod David, Quenton Greer, and Daniel Lopez. These men created some of the best memories for J.R. and his family, especially when they played against USA and in the Labor Day tournament in Santa Rosa, in which they reunited every year for 10 years to play until they were too old to move. These men will always be "ExSports for life" and we thank them for the great memories they have given our family.
The Montoya family would love to extend their most gracious love and gratitude to their family friend, Jim O'Connor, who so lovingly and willingly, checked on our father daily while he was in the hospital at the VA. We are forever indebted to him for bringing a part of his family to him daily when they could not.
The world will be a better place due to the legacy he left behind for his children and grandchildren and the imprint he left on them. He not only loved his family, he loved his Grizzly chewing tobacco, was an avid Tucumcari Rattler fan, and had a hate love/hate relationship with his Dallas Cowboys.
When you love hard, you grieve hard, but at the end of the day……he was worth it! Our loss is immeasurable, but we know that you are dancing with Racheal, in the presence of God, reunited with everyone you loved. Heaven is a lucky place right now. Love you forever and as you always said when you would leave our homes……. "See ya, when we see ya!"
Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Social Distancing guidelines, services will be private and limited to the immediate family. We ask that you keep Jimmy Ray and his family in your prayers. You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook.
All services are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 923 S. Third St. Santa Rosa, NM 88435. 575-472-3369. To place an online tribute please visit www.chavezfuneralhome.com