John Ray McFerren, eldest child of William Ray and Helen Harrigan McFerren, died on November 4, 2022 in Jackson, MS.
Ray was born in Baytown, Texas on October 19th, 1939. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1958, where he excelled in football, track, swimming and drama. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
He then attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University), where he majored in political science and also studied speech and drama. He won a place on the debate team that placed second only to Rice at Texas A& M in 1959 and was also a member of the Air Force ROTC drill team. He worked as a lifeguard at Baytown’s Roseland Park during summer breaks and coached swimming while at Texas State.
In the early 1960s, he toured the United States while working as a stage manager/actor in a production company. He subsequently went to Hollywood at the behest of actors Allen Jenkins & Pat O’Brian for screen tests at Universal Studios. He appeared in “Day in Court” and “General Hospital” while attending U.S C. on a fellowship in political science. He returned to Houston in 1964 following a sports injury.
He initially found work at The Houston Theater Center as an assistant to the director and then became manager of The Hayloft Dinner Theater in Lubbock, Texas.
From 1966 to 1988, Ray worked in sales and project chartering of ships & cargo for many international ocean transportation companies, such as Hansen & Tiedemann, Furness Withy, Sea-Land Services and Mercantile Marine. After 1988 he moved to Florida to work for a port commission. There he became interested in banking and finance. In later years he worked at Tri-Star Financial as a representative dealing with bank and credit union CD’s.
Throughout his life, Ray always found a way to participate in theatrical productions. He and his ex-wife Bonnie were directors of, and acted in, many little theater and dinner theater productions in and around Houston. Ray was an actor in quite a few shows for Theater Under The Stars (TUTS), The Houston Music Theater, and Channing Players, as well as local movie and TV commercials. Ray was proud to have been one of the past directors of Plays for Living, a United Fund project,
Ray was always a fan of pro-football in Houston. He was a season ticket holder for The Oilers and a blogger (No Bull Texan) for the “I’m a Texan” web site of The Houston Texans. He watched every game. He also liked to play golf and to fish. Ray served on The Corral Club’s “Committeemen's Club in the Dome” for The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He was a life member of the HLSR, as well as The World Trade Club. A creative cook, he won the 1979 South Houston Chili Cook-Off and competed in the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his maternal grandparents, John Xavier and Gertrude Maloney Harrigan; his fraternal grandparents, Ray Leroy McFerren and Cora Dejarnet-Parish; and his grandniece’s daughter, Abigail Heflin.
He is survived by his life partner of two decades, Evelyn Louise Stewart of Jackson, Mississippi, as well as his brother, William (Bill) Thomas McFerren; his sister Mary Helen McFerren Morosko Casseday; Bill’s son Sean Thomas McFerren, his wife Beverly and their sons Chase, Alex, and Dylan; Bill’s daughter Shannon Colleen McFerren Lewis and her children, Krista Lynn Marie, Shalei Jaci, and Kyler; and Krista’s daughters, Anabell and Addison.
A graveside service will be held at Sterling-White Cemetery, 11011 Crosby-Lynchburg Rd, Highlands, TX on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.