George Downing Wray, Jr.
SHREVEPORT, LA - George Downing Wray departed this life on Saturday, April 26, 2008. He collapsed due to an aortic aneurysm, which he suffered while attending an opera at the Riverview Theater. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 275 Southfield Road in Shreveport on Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at 12:30 p.m. with a reception in the Church Parlor afterwards. Officiating will be the Reverend Guido Verbeck, III, assisted by the Reverend Paul Martin. Family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at Rose-Neath Marshall Street Funeral Home.
George was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on June 23, 1915, to George Downing Wray and Jane Newton Wray. He graduated from C.E. Byrd High School, attended Virginia Military Institute, and graduated from Tulane University where he had studied business and history. He worked in the first air conditioning business in Shreveport, then left to serve in the Army during the Second World War. He attained the rank of Captain, fighting in the Pacific Theatre. After returning home from the War, he met and married Geraldine (Jerry) Smitherman, and started in the automobile business with his father at Wray-Dickinson Company (founded 1911). He served as president of Wray Ford for many years before his son took over the business. With his father and two brothers, Newton Wray and Charles Wray, he was a founder of KTBS TV and was a pioneer in radio and television broadcasting in the Ark-La-Tex. He also served on the Board of Directors of Commercial National Bank for many years.
Mr. Wray served as an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport. He also taught Sunday school there when his children were growing up. During the past 20 years he was an active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Mr. Wray was a long-time member of The Rotary Club of Shreveport, the Shreveport Country Club, the Shreveport Club, Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club, the Holiday-in-Dixie Cotillion Club (Rex XXXVIII), and the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
George Wray was an involved member of the community. He loved spending time with his family and numerous friends. He enjoyed history, Shakespeare, and the Opera. Mr. Wray had a life long passion for automobiles and the automobile business. He was nationally recognized as a leader in the automobile industry. He often enjoyed repairing automobiles as well as selling them. He was patient, loyal, and gentle. He was proud of the achievements of his family in business and the arts, and he was proud to have been a "good soldier" while serving his country in WW II.
Mr. Wray was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Edwin Newton Wray and Charles Winningham Wray; his sisters Evelyn Wray Smith and Mozelle Wray; and his sister-in-law Helen Heath Wray (Mrs. Charles Wray) and special friends Richard Johnson and Bennie Wiley Greene.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Geraldine Smitherman Wray; his four children, Mary Virginia Wray Hill and husband Kevin B. Hill of Shreveport, LA, Deanie Wray Galloway of Bossier City, LA, George D. Wray III and wife Allison Lange Wray of Shreveport, LA, and Nancy Wray Armistead and husband Charles W. Armistead, M.D., of Mountain Home, AR; eleven grand-children: Sarah Brandon Colmark and husband Charles Colmark of Albuquerque, NM, Rachel Hill of Shreveport, LA, David Galloway of Grapevine, TX, Kathryn Galloway Jordan and husband Jeffrey Jordan Lafayette, LA, Christine Wray Moody and husband Robbie Moody of Waco, TX, Matthew and William Wray of Shreveport, LA, Chase, Christopher, Grace, and John George Armistead all of Mountain Home, AR. Also surviving him are his sister-in-law Florence Hendrick Wray, nephew Edwin Newton Wray, Jr. and wife Suzanne, niece Lois Wray Rowe and husband Kirby, and niece Betty Wray Anderson and husband Brady, their children and grand-children. Many friends will cherish his memory, as he cherished them, including Jo O'Brien, comptroller of Wray Ford for 55 years; Mary Jackson; R. L. Robinson and Johnetta Johnson.
Serving as pallbearers will be Ed Henderson, Stuart Lunn, Winston Rice, Earle Labor, Joe Huddleston, Harland Hundley, Michael Powell III, and Steven Gehrig. Honorary pallbearers will be E. Alton Sartor and all the Kings of Holiday-in-Dixie Cotillion.
The family suggests memorials be made to St. Pauls Episcopal Church, 275 Southfield Road, Shreveport, LA; Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal, 1700 Buckner Street, Shreveport, LA 71101; the YMCA, 400 McNeil Street, Shreveport, LA 71101; Junior Achievement of North Louisiana, 3003 Knight Street, Shreveport, LA 71105 and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, 619 Louisiana Avenue, Suite 400, Shreveport, LA 71101.
"We give you thanks, Oh God, for a long and productive life filled with love and Joy" Rose-Neath Funeral Home
Marshall St. Chapel - 222-0348
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Published by Shreveport Times from Apr. 29 to Apr. 30, 2008.