Cover photo for R. David Ray's Obituary
R. David Ray Profile Photo

R. David Ray

February 5, 1942 — February 21, 2022

R. David Ray

R. David Ray was born in San Antonio, Texas on February 5, 1942 and departed this life on February 21,
2022. He was the adopted son of Ben F. and Lila D. Ray of Lubbock, Texas. He is survived by his loving
and devoted wife of 58 years, Loyce; son, Hunter Ray (Chrissy); daughter, Heather Worley (Justin); and
his grandchildren – Brittani (Joe), Brooke (Jeovanny), Benjamin, Lainey, Ashton, Brandon, and Mitchell.
Ray completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Texas Tech University. He moved to
Monticello, Arkansas in 1970 to establish a debate program at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
He retired from UAM in 2012 after 42 years of service as an award-winning and beloved Professor and
Debate Coach, Dean, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and Provost. He loved and was dedicated to
encouraging and helping his students succeed not only in their chosen field of study and career, but also
in their personal lives. Teaching and mentoring was his joy, his calling, and his students have shared that
he not only inspired them, but that he changed their lives. For 35 years, Ray directed the University
Debate and Forensics Program, which became one of the most successful and respected in the nation,
earning him an exclusive place in the Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) National Debate and Forensics Hall of Fame in
2005. In addition to this, he enjoyed announcing the UAM basketball and football games, auctioneering
for service organizations and local events, and other public speaking. His love for the Lord’s body, the
Church of Christ, led him to serve as Bible school teacher, deacon, elder, and part-time preacher in
towns across Southeast Arkansas. He served as an elder for more than 20 years at Monticello and Hot
Springs Village, Arkansas. His hobbies over the years included painting, sculpting, woodworking, sewing,
and jewelry making. He was an excellent storyteller who also enjoyed writing and performing poetry in
his younger years. He played a variety of sports, including tennis, golf, and racquetball; he excelled at
track and field in high school and college. He enjoyed fishing from time to time. A jack-of-all trades, he
was even skilled at construction and repair. (There wasn’t much he couldn’t fix with a simple wire coat
In his mid-20s, he identified this writing as an inspirational thought on life:
“We expect to pass through this world but once. Any good we can do, therefore, or any kindness that
we can show to any fellow creature, let us do it now; let us not defer or neglect it, for we shall not pass
this way again.” (Stephen Grellet).”
All who knew David Ray, including his beloved family, friends, students, and colleagues, felt his kindness
truly and deeply. Described repeatedly as kind, fair, wise, gentle, thoughtful, loving, generous, witty, and
encouraging, he will be greatly missed, but his impact has and will continue to ripple throughout
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at the Village Church of Christ on February 26,
2022 at 2pm. Memorial gifts may be given to the R David Ray Debate & Forensics Scholarship at the
University of Arkansas at Monticello.

* Photo Credit: Jim Brewer

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

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