John Wesley Ray Jr.

Published 12:01 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dec. 9, 1928 – Dec. 25, 2017


NATCHEZ — Services for John Wesley Ray Jr., who died Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, Christmas night, at Ollie Steele Burden in Baton Rouge, will be 12:30 p.m. Friday at Laird Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Paul Kunnumpuram officiating.   

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Burial will follow at the Natchez National Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. until service time Friday at the funeral home.

He was born Dec. 9, 1928, in Memphis, Tenn. He spent most of his childhood in Vicksburg and graduated from Carr Central High School. He was an Eagle Scout, participated in track and field and tennis.

After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1948 to 1950 on the USS Midway, CV-41, during the Korean War. He also was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1952 to 1957.

He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and communication from Mississippi State University in May of 1952. He was third in his class. He was a member of the following honor societies: Phi Etta Sigma, Kappa Mu Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, and Blue Key. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

After graduating from college, he accepted an offer from Schlumberger Well Services in Houston, as a general field engineer. He was transferred to Natchez in 1963.

After 30 years, he retired from Schlumberger. He worked as an exploration manager for R.E. Williams Drilling Company in Memphis for a number of years before pursuing a consultant career in the oil and gas industry. He was a member of the professional society of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE.)

He felt one of his biggest accomplishments was being involved in finding and developing Clark Creek Oil Field in Wilkinson County, which he affectionately referred to as “Wilcox Country.”

He proudly served on the Natchez Water Board from 1978 until 2011. He was a member of Grace Methodist Church, the Elks Club and Belwood Country Club.

After retirement, one of his favorite things to do was to meet with other oil and gas retirees for lunch at the Eola Hotel, to discuss matters of the day, which they referred to as “The Round Table.” He was passionate about watching the Mississippi State University Bulldogs football and baseball games, loved following the stock market, being with family and friends at Rifle Point and enjoyed reading. He cherished his beloved Labrador retriever, “CoCo.”

Survivors include his five children, Terry Ann Ray Dever of Baton Rouge, John Wesley Ray III and wife, Theresa Cascino, of Athens, Ga., Pamela Ray Gladney,  and husband, Windy, of Baton Rouge, James “Jimmy” William Ray and wife, Susan Metcalfe, of Charlotte, N.C., and Susan Ray Meng and husband, Paul, of Baton Rouge; one sister, Joyce R. Harden of Vicksburg; his former wife, Patricia Roth Ray; 10 grandchildren, Lowell Emerson Dever IV, Joshua David Oates, John Wesley Ray IV, Caroline Wesley Gladney Shirley and husband, Robert, Charles Wallace Gladney III, Charlotte Washburn Gladney Hollingsworth and husband, Todd, James “Jamie” William Ray Jr., Morgan Metcalfe Ray, Clare Frances Meng and Charles Lawrence Meng; one great-granddaughter, Merritt Wesley Shirley; and one nephew, Michael Harden and wife, Sharon.

Pallbearers will include Lowell Dever, Joshua Oates, John W. Ray IV, Charles Gladney, Jamie Ray, Morgan Ray, Robert Shirley and Todd Hollingsworth.

Honorary pallbearers will be Windy Gladney and Paul Meng.

He was a kind and generous person, and always put others needs ahead of his own. He truly was a great father, granddad, and friend to many. He will be truly missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Cathedral High School, Natchez, or a charity of choice.

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