Cover photo for Darrel D. Ray's Obituary
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1929 Darrel 2023

Darrel D. Ray

April 21, 1929 — December 5, 2023

Darrel Dean Ray, 94, died on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 in Drumright, Oklahoma. Memorial Services will be held at a later date. Dighton Marler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Darrel was born on April 21, 1929 in Rosston Oklahoma to Virgie and William Hardin Ray. He was educated in Rosston, Alva and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater Oklahoma. After graduating from high school in 1947, he attended Northwestern State University, where he met his wife Ruby Anita Ray. They were married for over 66 years. He honorably served his country in the US Army in the Korean War.

Darrel was a man of great wit and fierce intelligence who never lost his curiosity for life. He was a keen observer of the human condition, but lived his life with compassion and dignity. He was interested in so many things including travel, history, nature, antiques, and books to name but a few. He and Ruby enjoyed nothing more than setting off on the next great adventure, exploring 48 states and at least three countries. He gave his children a deep appreciation of travel, among so many other things.

Darrel was a teacher at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and on Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. It was there that he realized the need for literacy and the importance of teaching reading skills to everyone. He was inspired to seek higher education, earning his doctorate on the GI Bill, to address those needs. He was a Professor at OSU Stillwater in the Education Department for over 25 years where he was instrumental in developing the Reading Center to help people of all ages learn to read.

After retiring from OSU, he devoted his time to hunting for treasures that he sold at the Stillwater Antique and Collectible Mall. He was tireless in this pursuit outlasting nearly everyone at yard sales, auctions, and estate sales, and gleeful when he found a treasure.

Darrel is preceded in death by his wife Ruby, his parents and his siblings.

He is survived by his children, Virginia Ray, Katie Anderson and her husband Steve, Billijane Makinson and her husband Ken, and Elizabeth Ray and her husband Mike. He is also survived by his grandchildren Emily Anderson and Hilary Tardif, and his great grandchildren Sophia Rose Murphy, Wilder Tardif and Asher Tardif and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial Contributions can be made in his name to the Youth Services of Payne County c/o Dighton Marler Funeral Home, 5106 N Washington St, Stillwater OK 74075.

Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darrel D. Ray, please visit our flower store.


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