Woodward, Okla. —
Dr. Ray Verne Billingsley, professor emeritus, formerly of College Station, Texas, died March 3, 2014, in Vici, Okla. He was 86 years-old.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the United Methodist Church in Mutual, Okla. The Rev. Debbie Kerr will officiate. Burial of his ashes will follow at Dunlap Cemetery in Woodward County. A community gathering will commence at 2 p.m. at the Mutual Christian Church.
Dr. Billingsley was born Oct. 5, 1927, to Emeth Lee and Edith May McAfee Billingsley in the family farmhouse near Mutual. He was reared on the homestead and began his education in a one-room country school named Pleasant Valley, District 40. He lettered in basketball, was active in 4-H, the 4-H Victory Project and graduated valedictorian from Mutual High School.
He entered the agricultural economics program at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University). Billingsley lettered in ROTC rifle team and was an active member of FarmHouse Fraternity. He completed his bachelor of science in agriculture in 1949 while maintaining memberships in Pi Gamma Mu for social science, Phi Sigma Pi for biology, Alpha Zeta for agriculture and Phi Kappa Phi honorary scholastic fraternity as a student consistently in the top 10 percent of his class. Each semester, he made the Dean's List.
Billingsley continued his education at Oklahoma A&M and earned a master of science in agricultural economics in 1952. While working toward his master's degree, Billingsley became an instructor in the Department of Agriculture Economics.
Three other important events occurred while he was at Stillwater. He married the love of his life, Nadine Young, on Dec. 23, 1950, in the First Methodist Church, Geary, Okla. They were married more than 63 years. Billingsley also received a fellowship in 1951 with the Foundation for Economic Education and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway System. Then, in June 1952, the couple welcomed their first child, Leonard James.