Jack's Story

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Services for Jack Junior Ray, 89, of Ada are at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Criswell Funeral Home Chapel. The Rev. Vicki Collins will officiate. Burial will follow at Moore Cemetery near Clarita. The Chickasaw Honor Guard will conduct military honors at the cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Criswell Funeral Home.
Mr. Ray passed away peacefully of natural causes in his home while surrounded by his family on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.
Jack was born in 1927, in Clarita to Robert Leonard and Beatrice McCartney Ray. After graduating from Clarita High School, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1947. While in the service, he was selected to the All Navy basketball team, which won the Pacific championship in 1947.
After completion of his military service, Mr. Ray entered East Central State College. Jack played on the ECU Tiger Basketball Team under Coach Mickey McBride from 1949-1952. He helped the Tigers to the NAIA finals, with back-to-back appearances in the national tournament in 1951 and 1952. Ray was an all-conference selection his junior and senior seasons. "He ran our ball clubs on the floor," said McBride of Ray, considered to be one of the most popular players ever at ECU.
Jack also played baseball for the East Central Tigers in 1949, as an infielder. He signed a professional contract in the summer of that year and played minor league professional baseball for four years for the Ada Herefords in the old Sooner State Leagues.
Ray spent two years touring with the Harlem Globetrotters, playing for the Trotters' opposing team, after he graduated from East Central.
Jack Rays coaching career began in Vanoss. After two years there, he piloted Stonewall for one season. He then stepped to the helm at Oklahoma City Central, where he remained for four years. After two years at Pauls Valley, Ray took the head job at burgeoning Moore High School for eight seasons. Moore has claimed him to be their most successful basketball coach ever. He also coached baseball for 19 seasons.
In 1963, Jack Ray was honored by being selected to coach the South All-State Basketball Team. In 1977, Coach Ray was chosen to coach the Oklahoma basketball team in the annual Texas vs. Oklahoma Faith Seven basketball game in Shawnee. In 1979, Jack was selected as Oklahomas basketball coach of the year and nominated for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Coach Ray was inducted into the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Hall of Fame in 1996; the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012; and the East Central Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.
Survivors include three daughters and sons-in-law, Cynthia and Steve Huston, Jennifer and Gordon Deen and Julia and Bobby Roach; eight grandchildren, Stephenie Huston, John David Huston, Alex Deen, Austin Deen, Jackson Deen, Shelby Graham, Brandon Clifton and Kiely Deen; eight great-grandchildren, Laylah Huston, Sari Huston, Mia Huston, Jase Huston, Emma Graham, Miri Huston, Ellis Truett and Eli Graham.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Billie McGuire; and a daughter, Angela Ray.
Bearers will be Gordon Deen, Austin Deen, Jackson Deen, Brandon Clifton, John David Huston and Danny Baker. Honorary bearers will be Kelly Campbell, Mike Thompson and Punk Thompson.
The family would like to give special thanks to McCortney Family Hospice for their loving care during this time.
Published on September 19, 2016
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