Ray Edward Graves Jr. of Duncan, Oklahoma passed away on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020, at the age of 84 years old. After months of failing health, he died peacefully at the Country Club Care Facility in Duncan, OK. After receiving devoted care for many years from Mr. Randy Graves, one of his twin sons, he received additional care during the last month of his life from the staff at Country Club Care in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, September 4, at 10:00A.M. in the Whitt Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Randy Southerland officiating. Interment will follow at Resthaven Memorial Gardens under the direction of Whitt Funeral Home. Chapel services will be available for live streaming and may be viewed by clicking the access link below the obituary at www.whittfh.com.
Ray was born a rebel on January 9, 1936 in Lawton, Oklahoma to Raymond Edward Graves and Inez Cooke. As a boy, he could be found with his neighborhood friends playing marbles, riding their bicycles, or fishing in local creeks. Although he attempted to become educated at many points in his life, it was never his forte, although he was always interested in science, technology, and creative applications of the English language. In fact, he enjoyed taking English so much in high school that he was invited to extend his stay an additional year.
As a young man, he learned the value of hard work from his parents, and took on a number of jobs to support himself while he decided what he wanted to achieve with his life. From an early career as an oil field worker, to a brief stint in the United States Air Force, to a longer tenure as a machinist at Halliburton, he was always thinking about his lifelong passion for horses.
Ray’s uncle, an executive at Halliburton, tried to inspire Ray to become an “executive”, but executives were not allowed to wear cowboy hats, belt buckles, or boots, so the inspiration did not stick. While at Halliburton, his life changed for the better when he met Irene Delois Graves, who worked as a secretary at the same business. After discovering that they danced well together, the couple married, and eventually decided to pursue their joint passion of horses in the show ring and on the race track. Ray and Delois were also successful standing several stallions at the Quarter Moon Ranch, most notably Sky Top Bar.
Ray and Delois worked together for many years to create and grow the business at the local ranch east of Duncan, until at its peak in the 1980s, it was not unusual to have fifteen to twenty young horses being trained and prepared for competition on the race track. There were many trips to local racing facilities such as Ross Meadows in Ada, Stroud, Apache, and Remington Park. Ray and Delois’s accomplishments in the horse industry are well chronicled in other publications; suffice it to say that they were successful enough with their business to achieve some state and national notoriety, and to provide educational opportunities for their twin sons. Both Ray and Delois valued education above most other things, especially Ray due to the challenges he encountered in high school. Working hard and doing well in school was expected, and was always well rewarded.
Ray and Delois retired from the horse racing game in 2002, as the energy needed to stay competitive started to decline. In 2006, after Delois passed away, Ray continued to be social in his own way, and loved to dance with anyone who thought they could keep up with him. In his later years, he continued to socialize with the other local cowboys at his favorite coffee shop on Main Street in Duncan, and it was always entertaining to hear the stories that were told around the table by Ray and his colleagues. You could also find Ray parked at his computer at the Quarter Moon Ranch surfing the internet, fishing and shooting with his grandchildren, or debating with his sons about the latest scientific theory which he claimed to understand. At different points in his life, Ray claimed ancestry to a spectrum of dignitaries, including Quanah Parker, William Shakespeare, and Captain James Cooke. Although genealogy research has shed light on the validity of many of these claims, it’s fair to say that his full ancestry has not been completely established.
If Ray was here today, he would tell you he thought he was a good man, and that he always tried to do what he thought was right, as long he could do it his way. Ray was predeceased in death by his parents, Ray and Inez Graves of Duncan; his sister, Linda Shawn; and his wife, Delois Graves. He is survived by his sons: Randy Graves of Duncan, Rick and Elyse Graves of Beavercreek, Ohio; and his two precious grandchildren: Raymond Edward Graves III and Lauren Graves. He will be missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
The family is greatly appreciative of the support provided by the staff at the Country Club Care facility in Duncan, Oklahoma, who made the last month of his life bearable and dignified.
Ray Graves had a big mouth, and he liked to talk. No one can dispute these facts. He was a salesman, and could sell you anything. As a father, he was always there, even when he had to work. He never missed a football game, a basketball game, or a wrestling match.
Be forewarned; Ray was always fascinated by the concept of an afterlife, and thought the idea of haunting, or visiting his family and friends might be worth his time, and would definitely fit in with his sense of humor. When you hear the distant sound of a galloping horse, or see your horse cross the finish line at the race track, think of Ray Graves.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the American Paint Horse Foundation (APHF)at this web site link:
Online condolences can be made to the family at www.whittfh.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ray Edward Graves, Jr., please visit our floral store.