Raymond L. Estes, 84, passed away Friday, September 4, 2020 in Abilene. He was born May 15, 1936, in Sealy Hospital in Santa Anna, Texas, to Sam and Myrtle Estes of Rockwood, Texas.
Memorial services will be 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12 at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, followed by a reception also at the funeral home.
Ray attended grammar school in Rockwood. The family moved to Sweetwater, Texas where he finished junior high. The family moved back to Rockwood, and he finished high school in Santa Anna. While living in Rockwood, he and his family were members of Rockwood Methodist Church, where he led the singing until he graduated high school in 1954. Ray was a cheerleader for the Santa Anna Mountaineers.
After graduation, his first job was at the Santa Anna Lumber Yard, and he worked nights at the local drive-in as a carhop and maintenance person. Mrs. Allen was his employer, and a part of his salary was a room in her home, so he could save gasoline driving back to Rockwood every night. Ray then worked for the Tile Plant and was paid 75 cents an hour in the summer of 1956; the Tile Plant gave all the employees a two-week unpaid vacation. Ray moved to Sweetwater, staying with his brother and family. His next job would be his occupation for the next 36 years. He went to work for C.R. Anthony Department Store in Sweetwater. Anthony’s was a family department store, headquartered out of Oklahoma City, OK.
He was drafted into the US Army in November of 1958. Ray was stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado. After finishing that, he was assigned to Quarter Master School at Ft. Lee, Virginia. His job was canvas repair which included sewing machine repair, making seat covers and tent repair. He earned the title of Platoon Leader. From Ft Lee, Ray was assigned to Ft. Stewart, Georgia – not far from Savanna. Since there was not a canvas repair division, he was assigned to headquarter as Jeep driver for the officers, who were there to evaluate the National Guard. Good Duty!
In October of 1959, Ray was shipped to Taegue, Korea. To get to Korea, he rode a train from Sweetwater, TX to Seattle, WA. It took 21 days to get to Korea. On the ship, he had kitchen duty – which was no fun, being seasick and all.
In Korea, he was in charge of his own canvas repair shop. There were two Korean soldiers assigned to him, whom he trained to repair everything. They made all kinds of seats, windows, tents, and were asked to make a blanket for a horse – which he did. Ray was in Korea for 13 months. Coming home in November 1960, his ship travelled across the Pacific, through the Alutions Islands, to the port of Seaward, Alaska. They were able to visit town before sailing on to Oakland, CA. They were across the bay from San Francisco. Ray recalled it being a wonderful sight going under the Golden Gate Bridge and going by Alcatraz Prison.
They were processed out of the service, and Ray flew out of San Francisco to Dallas, and on to Abilene. Ray’s brother, Joe, picked him up and took him home to Sweetwater.
Ray went back to work for Anthony’s in Sweetwater for Rex Harris for 10 months and was recalled back to service with the 49th Division in Ft. Polk, LA for 10 months. Since he had a six-year obligation to the Army, he served about half and was in the Reserves for the rest of the time.
Ray was transferred with Anthony’s to a new store in Vernon, TX as Asst. Manager. He worked there for about a year, then did the smartest thing he ever did – he married a great young lady, named Carolyn Sue Petty. Anthony’s moved them to Ennis, TX with Ray as the manager, and Carolyn worked as the bookkeeper.
Ray moved to Arlington, TX as manager in 1964. While there, he won a trip to Hawaii for top sales in his district. From there, the family moved to Lovington, NM in 1972. By this time, Ray and Carolyn had two children, Terri and Jeff.
In 1976, the family was transferred to Pecos, TX, and then to Odessa in 1981. In Odessa, Ray won another trip, this time a Caribbean Cruise for top sales in his district.
During his 36 years with Anthony’s Department Store, he won Honorable Mention several times.
Ray and Carolyn retired from Anthony’s in 1991 and moved to their lake house at Oak Creek Lake.
Ray was bored of being retired, so he opened a lady’s samples store in Abilene named Specialty Samples for nine years. He retired again and this time it stuck. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, and playing with his 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers S.H. and Joe Fred, and wife, Carolyn.
Ray is survived by daughter, Terri Beaman and husband Frank of Graham, Texas; son, Jeff Estes and Vikki of Bastrop, Texas. He also leaves behind his 10 exceptional and greatly loved grandchildren: Jackson Estes, David Estes and Grace Estes of Bastrop, Texas; Kristin and Ben McKay of Edmond Oklahoma; Lane and Rachel Beaman of Abilene; Natalie and Joshua Kleinman of Nuneaton, England; and Jakob Beaman of Graham. Two great grandchildren, Remington and Maverick McKay of Edmond, Oklahoma.
Memories may be shared and condolences submitted online at www.HamilFamilyFuneralHome.com