Billy Gene Ray, born at Romance, celebrates 90th birthday with family

Billy Gene Ray celebrated his 90th birthday at Billy Gail’s Restaurant in Ozark. He’s pictured here with his birthday cake.

Billy Gene Ray, pictured second from left, an Ozark County native now living in Battlefield, celebrated his 90th birthday on Feb. 25 this year. Pictured family members joining in with the celebration are, from left, Nadine and Billy Ray, their son Shaun and wife Laurie Ray and their daughter Sheryl Huesing and her husband Alan.

Billy Gene Ray turned 90 on Feb. 25 and celebrated with his family at Billy Gail’s Restaurant in Ozark. 

Bill and his wife, Nadine Griffin, who now live in Battlefield, grew up at Romance and attended the one-room Romance School together. They have been married for 68 years. 

Bill graduated from Gainesville High School in 1950 and served in Korea after graduating. 

He later moved to Wichita to work for Boeing and retired at age 55 but continued to work in the Army Reserve and other jobs. 

He still volunteers as a member of the Army Color Guard and as a driver for the interstate blood bank. 

Bill’s brother J.C. Ray, and sister Janice Ray Dooley, who were also born at Romance, attended the celebration, along with Bill’s son Shaun Ray from Wichita, Kansas, and his daughter Sheryl Ray Huesing, who lives in Texas. His four grandchildren and their families came from Wichita, Kansas City and San Antonio to be with their grandfather for this special occasion. Nieces, nephews, grandnieces, in-laws and one cousin, Marsha Watson, also attended. 

Bill’s niece, Deanna Counts, daughter of Billie Ann Griffin Counts, compiled a book of letters and photographs from friends and family to present to Bill for his birthday. The memory book traces a life well-lived by the family patriarch and devoted citizen.

Ozark County Times

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