On Saturday, November 23, 2019, Ray Miles left this world to his heavenly home, while surrounded by his loving wife and family.
Henry Ray Miles was born March 5, 1952 to Henry Leroy and Betty Nell Miles as the second of three children and raised on the family farm in Hagerman.
He attended primary school in Dexter and graduated in 1970 from Hagerman High School. During his school years, he was active in 4H, FFA, played basketball, and ran track. Ray enjoyed working on the farm, raising animals, and showing at fairs across NM.
After high school, he attended NMMI and played basketball for the Institute. Next, Ray attended Texas Tech and later transferred to the University of Arizona to earn his Bachelor’s in Agronomy. Upon completion, he returned to the Pecos Valley and worked for Langenegger Feed Lot, Diamond A Cattle Co., and finally began his own custom farming and spraying business. Above all, Ray’s love and respect of the land remained his entire life, additionally, his children learned to love the land as well.
November 1, 1992, Ray married his true helpmate, Ann Miles, and their two families became one. Ray wrote, “along came Ann and everything has changed to greatness!” He and Ann were made for each other as they embodied unity for 27 years. They treasured working side by side, no matter the weather. As a result, many precious memories were formed during their time together.
Ray taught his children the value of hard work and he shared his love for animal husbandry. All five children were taught to raise and show lambs, goats, pigs, and cattle. He also supported their other endeavors as he coached basketball, little league baseball, Boy Scouts and attended dance recitals.
As the kids grew he could be seen at all their games cheering them on and yelling at the refs. He loved all five children, however, it was blessings to have two sons continue the farming and ranching tradition as their profession. Spring was a time to sow corn in preparation for summer nights, which were spent in the hay field baling hay. Fall brought days of working cattle and harvesting cotton. No matter what the season, he was working the land with his family.
One hunting trip Ray received the nickname “Big Bear” and it stuck. The name was fitting as he was tall, strong, and protective as a bear. Some days he could be a grizzly, however, most of the time he was a teddy bear. The ones who loved him most called him “Papa Bear.”
Ray also supported the community by volunteering and serving as a member of the Chaves County Fair Board, Chaves County Farm Bureau, Hagerman-Dexter Soil and Water Conservation District, Hagerman-Dexter Co-op Cotton Gin, and as the Goat Superintendent of the Eastern NM State Fair. Ray Miles understood that he played a part in community in an effort to preserve his traditions.
He is survived by wife Ann Miles, of the family home, children Bryan Miles and wife Marybelle and their children Chris Miles, Jaeven Grado, Brianna Saiz and husband Gavino, Janessa Grado, Allison Miles, Jaethan Grado and Jace Miles all of Artesia, NM; Andy Miles and wife Jessica and their children Ethan and Audrey Miles of Grapevine, TX; Travis Gray and his wife Heidi and their children Rowdy and Luke Gray of Hagerman; Jill Craig and her husband Nathaniel and their children Joseph, Lily, Grace and Abigail Craig of Soldatna, AK; and Trevor Gray and his wife Katie and their children Cutler and Ellie Gray of Hagerman and two great grandchildren, Aiden and Bryson Saiz. His mother Betty Nell Miles of
Hagerman, brother Don Miles and wife Nancy of Dexter, and sister Nelda Munoz and husband Rene of Levelland, TX. His father and mother-in-law, Eddy and Fay Womack of Capitan, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles as well as his compadre, Alton Munson. Ray Miles was preceded in death by Henry Leroy Miles.
Honorary Pallbearers are Alton Munson, Steve Carlson, Hugh Baker, Larry Hobson, Steve Lewis, Rance Miles, Jim Bob Miles, Justin Munson, Cody Munson, James Partloe, Steve Powell, and J.R. Shackelford.
Ray was a great man, loving father, and adored Papa who will be greatly missed. Although he is gone, his memories will live on with all who knew him. “The rows go on forever, and the party never ends.”
Memorial Service for Ray Miles will be held Saturday, November 30th, 2 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, Dexter, NM. The Miles family requests offerings be given in honor of Ray Miles to Dexter Presbyterian Youth Group in lieu of flowers. Please share your story at www.forevermissed.com/ray-miles.