Friday, August 26, 2005

Billy James Raley

Billy James Raley, born May 15, 1942 in Spur, Texas, died at his home in Irving on August 24, 2005 after battling cancer for several years. A long-time resident of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Billy served frequently as a minister of the Gospel while serving others through his business as a carpenter. As a son, husband, and father, he is survived by his father Frank Crenshaw, his wife Rosemary Raley, children James Raley, Ricky Raley, Andrew Raley, Anna Saens, Anna Patterson, and Rollin Bredenberg, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. As a friend, fisherman, and fisher-of-men, he is remembered by countless friends, "the one that got away", and the many who, by God's grace, did not.

The memorial service will be held at Irving Bible Church at 3pm on Monday, August 29,2005. The family will be present during the visitation at Ben F. Brown's Memorial Funeral Home in Irving from 5 to 7pm on Saturday, August 27. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund to support world missions has been set up through Irving Bible Church, 2435 Kinwest Blvd, Irving, TX 75063, and contributions can be marked for the Billy Raley Memorial Fund.

I count myself eternally blessed to have had Billy as my step-father. I didn't write about Billy's struggle with cancer because he always wanted to keep things close and not discuss them outside of a certain small circle. It was not easy to see him go through the last few months, and it was with a great deal of relief combined with a great deal of sadness that I received the news in the wee hours of Wednesday morning that he had passed away. I rejoice when I think of him being face to face with his savior in heaven, and reunited with his friends and loved ones who preceded him. He leaves a large hole here in the lives of all who knew him, and that is a large group indeed. As someone said to me this morning, if you spent five minutes with him, you would call him your friend. His smile, warmth of personality, and love for everyone he met broke down barriers and made those around him feel that they were special. He would be the first to say that none of that was his own doing, but all by the grace of God who had saved him and was shaping him daily. As a son in his blended family, I knew from the start that he loved me completely and unconditionally. He never wanted to have people say of him that "he was a good man", but I will say that he was a great friend, a loving father, a wonderful role model, and a gift from God in my life.


Bill Peck said...

Really nice obit.

Minh said...

Sorry to hear about your step-father's death. Although there is sadness that he is gone from this earth now, what a joy to know that there's an eternity in heaven just around the bend.