In loving memory of John L. Ray.
John passed away June 19, 2020 peacefully at home at the age of 74 after a prolonged illness. He was born in Roswell and lived in Anchorage, Alaska, Nashville, TN, and Texas. He graduated from Donaldson High School in Nashville, TN where he was recruited into the United States Navy due to his GPA. He proudly served in the Navy, and was honorably discharged.
After his military service he moved to Texas, and then back to Roswell where he worked as a mechanic. He later became certified in Airframe/Power plant, and graduated 2nd in his class. He also received certification in meat cutting at ENMU-Roswell, graduating 3rd in his class. Many years later he received certification as a Boiler Specialist from Albq, NM. He worked maintenance at St. Mary’s Hospital for several years, and Roswell Family YMCA, maintenance and Boiler Specialist for both. After the closing of the YMCA, he worked maintenance at Town Plaza apartments until retirement.
John was the first grandchild of John (Pa) and Vera (Diddi/Ma) Groseclose who were a huge part of his upbringing. The family often spoke of Grandpa John taking John at 5 yrs. old to Amarillo, Tx to be fitted for custom made boots. Grandpa also took him to a restaurant, The Big Texan in Amarillo, to see if John at 5 yrs. old could eat the 72 oz steak, and of course he couldn’t, but Grandpa got many miles out of that story. Grandpa and Diddi spared nothing for John in his formative years. Grandpa John raised and ran hunting dogs on the river, and taught John all of the skills, from purchasing, raising, breeding, and running them on the river. Grandpa was a Professional Painting Contactor, he also taught John the trade. Grandpa John also promoted wrestling in Roswell, and John helped his grandfather with promotion, setting up, and tearing down, they were personal friends to many professional wrestlers. Through the many changes in Roswell, John also worked in the oilfield, and TMC.
One of John’s passions was history, military and western. He read everything he could on both. Many of the family thought he could have taught history on a college level because of vast knowledge, and recall. He also loved old radio shows, and Louis L‘Amour western novels. John had a lifelong love of hunting. He went through a phase of flintlock, and muzzle loading, and owned and traded many firearms through his life. After he became ill one of his biggest regrets was not being able to go hunting. At one time he loved restoring old vehicles, and he was an excellent mechanic, and paint and body work. He always had an offer even before the vehicle was completed! He loved gardening, and especially animals. Every dog through his life became part of the family. John was a good friend to all, and would help anyone in need. He did many humanitarian deeds behind the scenes.
John was particularly close to his aunts and uncles Bettye and Bob Wallace, and Mae and Abe Stinson of Roswell. He always considered his aunt Bettye his second mom. He grew up with his cousins Donald Ray Groseclose, Burch Wallace, Barbara Pickett, now in Texas, and Vicky Gonyea of Alabama. He considered them close as siblings. They were all raised in a tight knit Christian family. He had a special bond with his brother and sister in law, Steve and Emma Russell of Roswell, and David Russell of Roswell, and his nephew and niece Nick and Deanne Russell. Many years hunting, fishing, camping, and at one another’s home most of the time. John has one sibling Rodney Ray and his wife Leandra of Roswell. John had a special love for Rodney, and so proud of his Rodney’s accomplishments!
John is survived by his loving wife Helen of the home, three children Michelle and Bill Hazelwood, Valisha (Cissy) and David Chavez, and Tosha and Troy Jones, all of Texas. Four grandchildren Jennifer and husband JR, Alex, Gabriela Chavez, and Izabela Chavez all of Texas. One great-grandson Conner of Texas. Nephews Mark and his wife Kay Ray, Mathew Ray and Cody Ray. Cousins Donald Ray Groseclose, Burch Wallace, Barbara Pickett, all of Texas. Vicky Gonyea of Alabama and Jack and Julie Ferguson of Roswell. And, numerous distant cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Jonnie Ray, grandparents John (Pa) and Vera (Diddi/Ma) Groseclose, aunts and uncles Bob and Bettye Wallace, Mae and Abe Stinson, and cousins.
John touched many lives; he was loved and will be missed. A special thank you to Bert Sanders, Joe and Julie Portio, and Ralph Coen. You were/are family to us!