May 19, 2021 1237 PM
Marion Ray Watley passed away peacefully with his loving wife by his side on May 12, 2021, at 12:52 p.m. He lost his hard-fought battle with a lengthy illness and dementia in Pecos, Texas.
Ray was born in Silverton, Texas, on January 11, 1939. His mother passed away when he was 18 months old, and his biological aunt Julia Stewart and her husband Jeff Stewart took him to Marathon, Texas to live. They were “Mother” and “Daddy” to Ray. His brother, Charlie Brittain Parker, 12 years old, continued to live in Silverton with his grandmother.
Ray was a heavy equipment operator, a trucker, and a wildlife technician. He worked as a trapper for the U.S. Game and Fish program for five years in Pinto Canyon at the foot of the Chinati Mountains south of Marfa, Texas. In 1965 he went to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife on the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in southern Brewster County. Ray worked in the desert bighorn sheep restoration program, mule deer hunts, trapping predatory animals and maintaining miles of the area roads and hunting/fishing camps.
In 1972, Ray moved to the Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area north of Van Horn, Texas, where another desert bighorn sheep brood pasture had been built. He worked with the public hunts and inventory of bighorns as well as mule deer, pronghorn, antelope and game birds in West Texas.
Ray retired from TP&WD in 1993 to work his and his sons’ trucking business. Ray lived in Van Horn with his wife, Rebecca “Becky” Ann Welch Watley. They married on February 14,1959, in Marfa.
Ray was preceded in death by his biological father, Robert Watley; Julia and Jeff Stewart; and his brother, Charlie Parker. He is survived by his wife, Becky, of 62 years; sons Alen Ray, Stewart James (children Garrett and April), Mark (wife Pam and children Danielle and Jackson Ray), and three sisters-in-law.
A memorial for Ray will be scheduled at a later time.
The Watley family has entrusted Heritage Funeral Home in Van Horn, Texas, with arrangements.
Online condolences may be left at: www.vanhornfunerals.com