(Editor’s note: Circling the News columnist Bob Vickrey’s brother Ray died on September 17.)
By BOB VICKREY
I lost my brother last Thursday. That also meant I’ve lost my best friend and lifelong hero.
Ray Vickrey died in Dallas on September 17 from complications of Alzheimer’s. He was 86.
When someone drew up plans for what big brothers should be like, Ray must have been their perfect model. He was a kind, gentle and thoughtful brother, who always looked after my best interests. He guided me, but never told me what I should do.
He trusted that I would make the right choices. He was there for me in times of crisis and calmly talked me through each one. His trust and belief in me helped build a self-confidence I had sorely lacked as a young boy.
Ray was born in Temple, Texas, but grew up in Galena Park, where he was a multisport standout.
While attending Baylor University in Waco Texas, he was a two-time Southwest Conference long jump champion.
In 1956, Ray ran a leg on Baylor’s 440-yard relay team that broke the world record at the Kansas Relays in 1956. He was inducted into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ray graduated from Baylor in 1957 and later earned his master’s of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his doctorate degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation of Notre Dame.
He served as interim pastor at churches in McGregor and Troy and spent more than 50 years in the ministry. From 1981 to 2008, he was the senior pastor at Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas.
Ray served as executive director of the Baylor Alumni Association from 1971-78, and in 2009 he received that organization’s W.R. White Meritorious Service Award.
Based on the outpouring of love and respect for Ray that I’ve witnessed over the years—including in the last 24 hours—I obviously wasn’t the only one who called him “best friend.” I just happened to be lucky enough to have the added honor of calling him “brother.”
It is a very sad day for our family, and also for all those whose lives have been touched by Ray Vickrey, a remarkable man.
(Editor’s note: A memorial service will be held at a later date due to Covid-19 restraints.)