In memory of
July 22, 1925 - October 8, 2016 OKLAHOMA CITY Wray Jolley died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at his home on October 8, 2016, at the age of 91, after a 6-year battle with cancer. His life was marked by dedicated service to his country, extensive world travel, and enormous love of family. Wray was born in Enid, Oklahoma, July 22, 1925, the first of three children of Hugh Ambros Jolley and Cyral Dean Wray Jolley. He graduated from Enid High School and went directly into service in the Air Force Reserve; he was sworn in at Enid Army Air Field ten days before his 18th birthday. What followed militarily were cycles of reserve, active duty, reserve, and more active duty (March 10, 1951 to May 30, 1970), and finally retirement status. While he was on active duty, the military moved him and his family to numerous places, including California, Nebraska, Virginia, and Germany. Even in retirement, Wray was every inch an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, taking great pride in his service and never missing an opportunity to be in an airplane. Over his lifetime, he flew an impressive array of military aircraft from small trainers to huge nuclear-armed bombers. He served as a bombardier and a navigator as well as pilot and airborne operations planner, and loved every minute and every plane he flew. He took his last turn at the controls at the age of 89 in an antique military biplane.In addition to aviation, Wray also had a brilliant military and civilian career in computers. He worked for the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Omaha from 1957-1961, and was recognized for his pioneering efforts in the sophisticated electronic programming and analysis involved in cold war military planning. At the peak of his military career, Wray managed the entire analysis and programming staff for the US Air Force Automated Command and Control System in Europe, responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of all programs. He was at the center of the nuclear defense planning and logistics operations at SAC in Omaha, in the Pentagon, the Air Force Command in Germany (HQUSAFE), and later in his work as a civilian contractor for NATO at the SHAPE HQ (Nuclear Software Section) in Belgium, holding a top secret clearance at all times. Wray's education served him well throughout his life. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma in 1949, and a Master's degree in Statistics/Electronic Data Processing from Stanford University in 1963. He took extensive coursework in computer systems and programming at the IBM Systems Research Institute in New York. For the rest of his life, he never stopped learning. He traveled extensively until he was in his mid-80s and could carry on a conversation in French, German, Russian, and (notoriously impeccable) English. The military precision and mathematical education he prided himself on carried over into his personal life, and he was well known for his dapper appearance and his habit of always being on time. He could recall every address and phone number he had ever had, and he never forgot the birthday or anniversary of anyone in his family. He married Ruby Lee Freeman on March 19, 1948, and they had four children: Charles Wray Jolley, Carol Lee Jolley (now Vance), Thomas Hugh Jolley (deceased 1991), and Barbara May Jolley (now Durren). The marriage ended in 1974, but the two stayed united in their love of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren until Ruby Lee's death in March of 2016. Besides his three surviving children, Wray is survived by his two sisters, Margaret Henry of Oklahoma City, and Marilyn Kincannon of Enid. Wray's empire includes several grandchildren: Amy Cutler of Raleigh, North Carolina, Brian McNatt of Boston, Massachusetts, Bethany Hunt of Springdale, Arkansas, Harrison Grundy, currently living in Singapore, and Lucinda Jolley of Oklahoma City. His granddaughter Carrie Durren preceded him in death in July of this year. Wray is also survived by his beautiful great grandchildren: Aleecyana Mills and Ruby Lee Cutler of Raleigh, North Carolina, Toshiro, Ethan, and Wyatt Hunt of Springdale, Arkansas, and Violet McNatt of Boston, Massachusetts. Wray treasured each of them, and kept up with their activities and achievements proudly. A resident of Oklahoma City since his retirement, Wray continued to maintain an active social life and a habit of taking exotic trips. He was a member of the English Speaking Union, the Mayfair Dance Club, and the Alliance Francaise of Oklahoma City. He generously supported several local charitable civic and religious organizations. He was a person who made his life exactly what he wanted it to be - and it showed. His 91 years were rich and full, and he leaves behind many good friends and a family who will always keep him in their hearts. Funeral services will be Saturday, October 15th, at 10:00 a.m. at Smith & Kernke with viewing from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14th. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Jesus House or Allied Arts of Oklahoma City would be appreciated.
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