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Bert Edwin Ray

April 17, 1931 October 10, 2019
Bert Edwin Ray
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Obituary for Bert Edwin Ray

Bert Ray passed away peacefully at his home on the morning of October 10. Throughout his life, he was energetic, kind and ready to apply his many talents to any challenge. A man of inner strength and unshakeable values, he will also be remembered for his easy-going style and ready smile, often gently reminding those around him to “keep things light.”
His family was the most cherished aspect of his life, with his devotion returned in full measure by Julie, his wife of 63 years, and sons, Stephen, James and Mark. He especially treasured the friendship of his sons’ childhood and college friends who continued to stay in touch for encouragement, perspective or just a laugh over a few well-chosen puns.
After childhood in central Texas, he graduated from Austin High School and the University of Texas School of Architecture. He entered the university as an engineering major, but a visit to the Architecture Building changed everything. He would go on to become a widely respected architect specializing in the design of churches and schools, spaces created to inspire the minds and spirits of those who occupied them.
Shortly after graduation from UT, Bert served two years in the Army, including time in Schwetzingen, Germany. There he and his college sweetheart, Julie (Lockman) were married twice in one day: first in the civil ceremony required by German law for American servicemen, and again at the post chapel, with a chaplain presiding. “We’re really married!” they both enjoyed saying over the years.
Because Bert had won a national award in car design from the Fischer Body Craftsman Guild as a teenager, he was assured a job at General Motors. Returning from Germany to seize the opportunity, he and Julie spent a year in Detroit. But the call of architecture and the Texas sun brought the couple to Houston, where Bert joined Caudill Rowlett Scott, national pacesetters in school design. In the early 60s, the family spent two years in Palo Alto, CA, where Bert represented CRS in a major research project at Stanford University. He later developed successful partnerships in Houston as a principal of Denny, Ray, Wines Architects, followed by Ray & Hollington Architects.
Retiring to Wimberley in 1997, Bert threw his design and planning energies into the small community on the Blanco River. At that time, Wimberley had one stoplight, few sidewalks and no plan for how inevitable growth would be managed. His notebooks of renderings – he called them “doodles” – yielded innovative yet practical ideas for creating infrastructure while preserving natural beauty and small-town charm. “Let’s bring Wimberley into the 20th Century,” he would say with a grin. He chaired Wimberley’s first Strategic Plan Committee, also chairing or serving on committees to enhance the town square; develop a transportation master plan; enhance the town square signage and layout; devise parking plans for the downtown area and more.
As a gifted maker of beautiful things, he launched into woodworking projects well before retiring from architecture. He designed and crafted fine art furniture: intricate tables of all sizes, chests, vessels and sculptures, all inlaid with hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces of hand-cut wood veneer. He never stained or dyed wood, out of respect for the pure beauty of natural wood colors. In addition to commissioned pieces, Bert’s award-winning work has been shown in several Texas galleries.
On Tuesday Oct. 15, a celebration of faith, hope and love in thanksgiving to God for his life was held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Wimberley. His sons offered eulogies reflecting his life and their exceptionally strong, loving relationships with him. The Reverend Phil Mason presided at the service with warmth and grace. Burial followed at St. Stephen’s cemetery.
Bert is survived by his wife Julie, Wimberley; son Stephen Thomas Ray and his wife Kristina Zill, Hobart, New York; James Lockman Ray and his wife Joan Albert and their daughter Carolyn Siegrist Ray, Houston; and Mark William Ray and his wife Ellen Osborne Ray and their children Natalie Anne Ray and James Elliott Ray, Austin.
For memorials: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, jdrf.org


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Previous Events

Service

Tuesday

15

Oct

12:00 PM 10/15/2019 12:00:00 PM
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

6000-A FM 3237
Wimberley, TX 78676

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
6000-A FM 3237 Wimberley 78676 TX
United States

Service

Tuesday

15

Oct

12:00 PM 10/15/2019 12:00:00 PM
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

6000-A FM 3237
Wimberley, TX 78676

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
6000-A FM 3237 Wimberley 78676 TX
United States

Graveside

Tuesday

15

Oct

1:00 PM 10/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
St. Stephen's Cemetery

Wimberley, TX

St. Stephen's Cemetery
Wimberley TX
United States
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