Horace “Ray” Hendley went home to be in the arms of the Lord, Monday, July 31, 2017 at the Ponca City Nursing and Rehab Center, Ponca City, OK. He was born on Dec. 6, 1929, 15 minutes before his twin sister, Fay. He was born in Lake Creek, TX to Johnie Leo and Mary Nobie (Gill) Hendley.
The family moved to Ponca City in 1939 and Ray graduated from Ponca City High School with the class of 1948. In high school, Ray was active in band, glee club, Pon Dram Panic, and photography editor of the high school yearbook and member of the Cat Tale Staff. Ray even set up a small darkroom in the attic at home to develop pictures for his school photography.
After finishing high school, Ray joined the U.S. Navy and served from 1948 to 1952. From March 1953 to August 1954, he worked at the U.S. Navy Department Employment Branch in Washington D.C. as a personnel appointment clerk.
Ray moved back to Oklahoma, enrolled in Oklahoma A&M College (now OSU) under the G.I. Bill, and graduated in 1957 with a B.A. degree in journalism. As a project for a journalism class, Ray interviewed Mrs. Louise Fluke, the designer of the Oklahoma State Flag. He received an “A” for the story and the article was published in the Oklahoma Today Magazine in the 1956 Sept.-Oct. issue. After graduating from college, Ray reenlisted in the U.S. Navy until his retirement of 20 plus years.
During his naval service, Ray attended the University of Southern California completing a special one-year course in motion picture production. One of his instructors was actor Jerry Lewis. After completing the course in 1970, Ray transferred to the Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group and made many journalistic and public affair contributions to the success of this commands missions.
Ray served on numerous ships and in many headquarters throughout the Pacific Command in which he received two letters of commendation from the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. One for outstanding service aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway, and the other as a member of Task Force 78 during the clearing of mines in Haiphong Harbor. For outstanding service on the Joint Military Staff of the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Command, Ray was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. For service in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for public affairs, Ray was awarded one of our nation’s highest awards for meritorious service, the Meritorious Service Medal.
Ray’s public affairs duties took him to numerous nations in the Pacific and Southeastern Asia such as Burma, Borneo, Thailand, even Australia and India. His position brought him in contact with international state and military leaders, presidents, and kings, giving Ray the opportunity during one of his tours to have interviewed the King of Siam.
After Ray retired from the Navy in 1974, he stayed in Coronado, California, living close to his parents and youngest brother. After the death of his mother, Ray moved to Texas to be near other relatives, including his oldest sister. In 2003 and after 20 plus years in Texas, Ray decided to move back to Ponca City to be near his twin sister Fay.
Ray’s hobbies included photography, fishing and boating, and writing. Although Ray had been diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration, he still enjoyed photography and making greeting cards from his photos. He had the equipment that enabled him to do the work on his computer by enlarging photos and text so that he could see. By pulling a chair up close to his big screen TV, he was able to enjoy watching movies and programs such as those on PBS.
Ray loved growing flowers and many kinds of plants, especially tropical plants. He once said when he went to the nursery to pick out flowers; it was like being a kid in a candy store with all the goodies to pick from.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Curtis and J.P. Hendley, and sisters Emaline Hallman, Oleta Willis Allen, Alma Craig, and June McCloud.
Survivors include his twin sister Fay Nix of Ponca City, two brothers, Harold Hendley of Winnsboro, TX, and Charles Hendley of Edmond, OK, and numerous nieces and nephews which he truly loved visiting and corresponding with. One special nephew, Charles Nix of Ponca City, was his chauffer and helped with his weekly shopping and handiwork when needed.
The family would like to thank the Ponca City Nursing and Rehab for all of their kind staff working with Ray. They were all so patient and loving to him and took care of his needs, which made us feel at ease when we were not there with him. We also want to thank Humanity Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Noon Lions of Ponca City, P.O. Box 532, or contact Jay Stafford 580-762-4249. Online condolences may be done at www.gracememorialchapel.net. Services are scheduled for11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 12, 2017 at Woodlands Christian Church in Ponca City. Pastor Truman Ferguson will officiate. A dinner for family and friends will follow at the church. An inurnment of cremated remains will be held at Resthaven Cemetery on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
To Ray's Family, I am fortunate to have met and worked with Ray on a vision message he had. Kind, intelligent and charming, that is how I will always remember him. May the love for Ray bring strength to all that have had the pleasure to have met him. My condolences. Mindy LittleCook
Mindy LittleCookPonca City, OK
To Fay and Charlie,
I have listened to "Fly Me to the Moon" 100 times already, remembering how Ray could sing me every word. I think of him every day and how sweet his soul was. I wish I could have been there with him longer. You truly have an angel watching over you. I miss seeing Ray and you both all the time. You're always in my thoughts and prayers.