RAY, CREAD L. (1931 ~ 2018). Cread L. Ray, Jr., state representative and Supreme Court justice, was born in Waskom, Harrison County, Texas, on March 10, 1931, and graduated from Waskom High School, as Salutatorian, in 1948. Following high school, he attended Texas A & M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1952. He served on the Corp Staff and was named an Outstanding Cadet.
After A & M, Ray entered the United States Air Force, where, in 1953, he graduated from the Air Force's School of Airborne Electronics and later fought in the Korean War. After the War, he enlisted in the Air Force Reserve, where he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1987.
After being mustered out of active duty in the Air Force, Ray entered law school at the University of Texas at Austin in September 1954. After receiving the Consul Award, he graduated on June 1, 1957, with a Juris Doctorate.
Ray, after being admitted to the state bar in 1957, returned to Harrison County and began his legal career with the Marshall firm of Smith and Hall. He stayed there for one year, until he created his own firm, Taylor and Ray.
In 1959, Ray began his political career when he was elected County Judge of Harrison County. He left his firm, but returned in 1961, where he stayed until he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1966. He served two terms.
While in Austin, Ray served as Vice Chairman of the Aeronautics Committee and was a member of the Judiciary, Criminal Jurisprudence, Transportation, Oil, Gas and Mining, and the Legislative and Congressional District Committees.
Deciding not to seek a third term in the Legislature, Ray returned to Northeast Texas and ran for a seat on the Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana. He was elected on November 3, 1970, and was sworn in January 1, 1971. He was reelected in 1976.
While on the bench, Ray continued his education by attending and graduating from numerous seminars and schools. He held certificates from the American Bar Association's Appellate Judges Seminars, which he attended from 1971 to 2000, New York University's Institute of Judicial Administration (1971), and the University of Nevada's National College of the State Judiciary (1972). Ray, who during this time was also serving the Air Force Reserve, graduated from the College of the Armed Forces, now called the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. In 1980, Ray was elected to the Supreme Court of Texas. He was sworn in on November 25, 1980, and served until December 31, 1990. While on the Supreme Court, Ray co-authored two articles, one for the St. Mary's Law Journal entitled, Drafting Enforceable Non-competition Agreements in Texas, and another for the Texas Law Review, called The Mandamus Explosion.
After serving more than 24 years as a state official, Ray returned to private law practice in Austin and specialized in Appellate, Oil and Gas, and Personal Injury Law.
Not only did Judge Ray serve the people of Texas as a state official, but he also served the state in numerous other venues. He held several positions with the Marshall and Texas Jaycees, was president of the Harrison County and Northeast Texas Bar Associations, and was a member of the board of trustees for Wiley College, who presented him with an Honorary Doctorate, a L. H. D. in 1980.
Judge Ray was both an Eagle Scout and a Distinguished Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, and also took an active role in that institution. He served on the Executive Board and as Vice President for Legal Affairs. He also received the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver awards, the District Award of Merit, the Paisano International Award, and was a James E. West Fellow.
Judge Ray is survived by his wife, the former Janet Watson, and four children, Robert (Martha), Glenn, Marcie (Ben), Anne (George) and five grandchildren, Kathryn Sue Kelley, Arden Schmidt, Travis Ray, Garrick Schmidt and Wesley Ray. He was predeceased by his daughter, Sue Ann Culver, and stepson David Keller.
Memorials in honor of Judge Ray may be made to Hospice of Lansing (www.hospiceoflansing.org) c/o Stoneleigh Residence Hospice, 3411 Stoneleigh Dr., Lansing, MI 48910; Boy Scouts of America – Michigan Crossroads Council, 137 S. Marketplace Blvd., Lansing, MI 48917 (www.michiganscouting.org); or Boy Scouts of America – Cascade Pacific Council, 2145 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201 (www.cpcbsa.org).
Biography provided by Ray family.