Ray Jackson McQuary
January 23, 1940 – April 16, 2019
On April 16th, Ray Jackson McQuary died at his home in Kingwood, Texas at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife, Lily, their children and grandchildren, his sister-in-law, Betty, and his nieces and nephew. He led a full life filled with laughter and love, and will truly be missed. He told the most outlandish stories that were mostly true.
He was born in Austin on January 23, 1940, traveled the world, and like all true Texans came back “home”. William McQuary, of Scottish descent, and Nell De Graffenried, of royal Swiss Baron descent, raised him. After his mother passed away, his dad married Jessie McQuary and she legally adopted Ray and his older brother Bill. They lived in many places including four wonderful years in Chile, where this lanky boy was affectionately known as “Pata de Zancudo” (or Mosquito Legs). As kids, Ray and his brother plotted many crazy things, and after their parents had had enough, they were sent off to the Tennessee Military Institute and Wentworth Academy. There Ray’s passion for military history was born. In his later years, he took this passion and wrote a historical novel about the mysterious trail of stolen property during WWII.
Ray graduated both from West Point and The United States Army Ranger School. Under the strenuous 75th Ranger Regiment he had adventuresome training that included surviving the Florida swamps with scarce resources, and jumping out of helicopters with warheads strapped to his back. After this training, he served his country in Vietnam as a Captain in the 4th Engineer Battalion. There he built bridges and figured out how to keep the roads dry during the rainy season. He carried his love of knowing “water always runs downhill” later on in life as he installed his own sprinkler systems and tinkered with his gutters.
While stationed in Dexheim, Germany, he met Lily – a lovely lady from Luxembourg – and being a young, strapping 6’-5” man, he swept Lily off her feet and brought her back to Texas. Before they left Europe though, they were married in the quaint Catholic Church of Helleng in Lily’s hometown. After the military, Ray graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He had a successful professional career that started with working for the Staff Council at the Texas Department of Corrections, then was a Federal Magistrate in the Panama Canal Zone and in Houston, had his private law practice in Houston, taught at the University of St. Thomas, ran as a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge candidate and lastly was a Social Security Administrative Law Judge. And, if you think that was a long list, it keeps on going! He was active in his community at St. Martha’s Catholic Church, Rotary International, the Kingwood Executive Group, the Lakes Association and as a soccer/basketball coach to 10+ teams. He also was an integral part of a citizen’s group that pushed for smaller schools in the Humble Independent School District. In his free time, which he still somehow had, he helped out at his in-laws’ farm and his dad’s ranch, and provided pro bono legal aid.
He was equally active in sports, particularly ones that use racquets. He lettered in squash at West Point, was part of the Kingwood “Racquetball Gods”, won the men’s over 70 Tennis National Championships as he put it, “by just showing up”, and he medaled in his age category for numerous Triathlons. He spent 55 glorious years with his wife and had four children: Bryan, Philip, Laura and 11 years later - Melanie! He raised them to be fair, honest, generous, hardworking, independent thinkers and to know the value of a dollar. He and Lily traveled with their kids and visited as many restaurants, museums, cathedrals, pyramids, glaciers and parks as is humanly possible in one’s lifetime. He even trekked through the Panamanian rainforest searching for gold with his eldest son. He was always an encouraging mentor and guide for his children’s professional lives as well. He helped lay the foundation for Bryan’s start-up company and hired Laura’s newly established design-build office to do a boutique residential development. He was pleased that his family continues to grow with grandchildren. He touched many lives and that is how he shall live on.
St. Martha’s in Kingwood will be holding a mass for Ray on May 3rd at 10 am, and a reception will follow. Condolences can be shared online at www.dignitymemorial.com. And in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ray’s honor to the Innocence Project https://www.innocenceproject.org/getinvolved/ or Doctors Without Borders https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
- Funeral Mass and Reception Friday, May 3, 2019
Ray Jackson McQuary
May 13, 2019
As most of you know, my dad passing away shocked our world. We weren’t ready for it – for this tall man with a big personality, and lots of opinions to leave. But we all have to remember what he did leave behind, how he shaped and loved us. All four of the kids will talk about what he taught us or brought to our lives the most. For me, it was empathy.
Now, my dad was very empathic – not towards your opinions, those he would challenge – but towards your journey through life, the challenges you faced. And he was always so very proud of you, and what you overcame.
He was a judge, and always right. Me, being his daughter, I was always right too. So naturally, it was sometimes complicated. But what I never questioned, was whether he cared for me or anyone else. I watched him spend hours mulling over his cases. He placed a premium on judgment and knew his judgments were significant and impacted people’s lives. He always wanted to do what was right but also wanted to show people a bit of grace.
Oh, and he also worried so much about us four kids. He wanted us to have the best chance of success, but mostly, he wanted to brag about us, and I know the office got an earful. He was our biggest supporter. He was just so very proud of what we had accomplished, big or small. But he was also proud of his friends, my friends, friends of friends and anyone he came across – whether in his courtroom or not – who rose above challenging circumstances. If he could have any part in their success, he would jump on that opportunity with support, time and advice (legal or not, solicited or not). It was because he so deeply cared about us, all of you, and the world.
He wanted to leave the world a better place than how he found it. With lots of advice, love, and empathy, he really did.
May 9, 2019
Adventure and calculated risk – these words define a man, a father, a husband, one who took risk at every fork in the road, every adventure/curveball that life threw at him. My dad was one who never backed down from an adventure whether it was grueling life as a WestPoint cadet, crawling through the Florida swamps as an Airborne Ranger, or becoming a dad again at 50. His wanderlust led him to explore all edges of the earth and to risk it all in his career for his wife and children. He left big shoes for me to fill (size 12 to be exact), but I have no doubt that my dad has left a legacy in me and each of his children.
He led us through adventures of our own spirit that taught us lessons of survival, loyalty, family first, love and a knowing that there isn’t anything we can’t achieve especially if we believe in it. I now sit at a science bench and honor my father, the man that presided over his courtroom bench, and I feel even more connected to him. I reflect on our similarities, the adventurous and warrior spirit that lives in me, I reflect on the man he made me, and I am more keenly aware now than ever the mark I want to leave on the world and with others. I’ll see my dad in the waves that I surf, I’ll feel him in the wind on the mountain tops that I climb and see him at the bench during those creative brainstorming sessions. I know he’ll be guiding us, illuminating the way. Until we meet again dad…
May 7, 2019
Throughout my dad’s life, he exemplified the virtue of love. Seeing him demonstrate this virtue, and many others made me a better person. I would like to share with all of you just a few examples of his love for us:
Every day when my dad got back from work, he would give my mom the most emphatic and amazing kiss on the lips that I have ever seen. It is hard to describe, but I believe the differentiating factor was his emphasis on the “MMMMM” part. Admittedly, that effort was a little strange to me, as it was heard throughout the house. That being said, it was clear to me that he loved her with all his heart. And if he forgot, which was rarely, my mom would remind him by saying “Hey Mister, what are you forgetting”. She really loved those kisses.
I created a startup company several years back. At times I was overwhelmed with the complexity of the endeavor. Thankfully, my dad had my back, providing guidance on corporate and IP law, and what were fair contract expectations. He wanted to see me succeed so much that he even provided me with some seed capital. Not many parents would show this kind of commitment and love to their kids, particularity when it put at risk some of their retirement and potentially required them to keep working into their 70s.
If I was sick, he was there making sure I drank plenty of fluids and assuring me that I would be fine. The first thing I remember when I woke up from a concussion was my dad asking me how I was doing. I could clearly see how much he really loved me.
No one is perfect, but our dad was definitely very close. If every person showed the virtues we discussed today, and the many others we haven’t even mentioned, the world would definitely be a better place. As a tribute to him, we would ask that all of you show your love for your spouse and kids sometime time today by giving them a big kiss, with an emphasis on the “MMMMM” part.
Thank you for attending my dad’s funeral and for those that helped out. God Bless.
May 6, 2019
One of the most important things my father did for me and my siblings, is offer support and guidance, even in areas that he had little experience in. He was basically tone deaf and told that he couldn’t sing by his school choir teacher, yet somehow, he encouraged me to love music and learn piano, which I enjoy playing to this day. As a kid he taught me to play chess and squash. Now he was not the type of parent to simply let his kid win. Because he was this way, I learned that I need to practice and persevere. The few times that I did beat him at chess were truly good days for me. But being the master at racquet sports that he was, I never did win a squash game.
When I was 16 years old, he encouraged me to be an exchange student because he knew that seeing the world from a different vantage point is one of the best learning experiences someone can have. And my year abroad, living with different families did give me a better appreciation for the world, and it gave me an even a better appreciation for my own family. Throughout High School he taught me to be a better writer. I once told him that it was slightly discouraging that my papers were covered in a pool of red edits after he proof read them. But he lovingly insisted that I was getter better, and I knew that he was right. I was learning and growing through his support and guidance.
When I was deciding on my career path, he threw out numerous suggestions until one finally stuck. He always found great pride in saying that he was the one who told me to be an architect. He has also been my legal guide and personal soundboard as I have journeyed on my path of marriage, home ownership, building my own company and having children of my own. Above all, my father taught me how to be a good parent and a good friend.
He will be missed, but he will always be a part of me, our mother, my siblings, and everyone else he crossed paths with.
May 6, 2019
Great man, when I first arrived at ODAR he gave me a great conversation, great smile and great advice. We would go walking from time to time and he would tell his stories, but I had to make large steps to keep up with his long legs and the intensity of his steps. We talked a lot about his triathlon, how he was great and not so great at times. Very robust personality, I missed our conversations once he retired. A great loss.
May 3, 2019
Judge McQuary was a great guy. I enjoyed his stories, and just conversing with him in the office. I remember him saying "Kelly, I'm going to retire, because I don't want to be one of those old guys that sticks around at work; and gets on everyone's nerves." (smile) Funny, kind, and fair is how I will always remember him.
May 3, 2019
I always have enjoyed conversations with Judge McQuary, as he was so willing to share stories about the Vietnam War. He had an explosive laugh and great sense of humor.....yet was laid back and a fair Judge. I've worked for, and truly enjoyed working with him. My sincere condolences to Lily and all of his family.....he truly will be missed.
May 2, 2019
I always have enjoyed conversations with Ray, as he was so willing to share stories about the kids and family. He had an explosive laugh and great sense of humor.....yet was laid back and a true listener. My sincere condolences to all of his family.....he truly will be missed.
May 2, 2019
I Will Keep in Memory Judge Ray McQuary, A Kind, Generous and Caring Person who's Strength, Humor and Knowledge touched a lot of lives to include mine. He Will Be Greatly Missed.
And to His Family, May God Bless, Strengthen and Keep You All
Lola D. Williams
SSA/OHO - Houston, North
April 29, 2019
Judge McQuary was one of the best and fair judges I've worked for, truly enjoyed working with him. He will truly be missed. RIH Judge until we meet again.
Heinrich and Nancy Schettler
April 27, 2019
Dear Lily, Brian, Philip, Laura, and Melanie,
We will miss Ray very much. He entered our hearts when Ray and Lily with Brian and Philip moved in next door to us in the Canal Zone. With our loritos outside the back doors calling to each other to start a new day, our two families would share in daily adventures from exploring the interior of Panama to fishing in the Pacific. Ray was always up for anything and would have a good story to get the fun underway. Whether we shared time with the children, or cherry pie and ice cream in the evening, we always cherished our friendship with the McQuarys.
When we all returned stateside in the early 80's it was a comfort to meet up again in Kingwood. Our children knew each other, and they knew and loved Ray. His wise counsel with a dash of humor always left us feeling that nothing was impossible. We will always be grateful for that. Long friendships are no accident. They are blessings of special people whose lives cross for unknown reasons. We are thankful that our paths crossed with Ray's . Our lives are far the richer.
April 22, 2019
Ray, was a champion of smaller high schools particularly in the Humble Independent School District where he and Lily live. Over 15 years ago he was a key part of a large group of citizens who opposed HISD and fought for smaller high schools. After several bond referendums, HISD was defeated and 2 new high schools were added versus enlarging the existing high schools.
Ray's personal experience with small high schools captures the essence and advantage over larger high schools. He was fond of saying that he attended such a small high school and played all the sports that it wasn't until he went to West Point that he realized he was not that good of an athlete. However, because of the small size of his high school, he was able to participate in and benefit from playing many sports.
April 22, 2019
You know Ray was very much a loved member of the. “Raquet Ball Gods”, a bunch of sweaty middle aged men - who believed and dreamed they were legends - at least in their own minds! We could sometimes beat him at rqtball but at squash, he was the King! So sorry we never got him to the Pickleball Crt , with his reach and fitness, he probably would have been deadly - but just busy rebuilding his lovely hm after The devastation of Harvey - so glad he was finished with that - it looks spectacular!
He’ll be missed by so many, always fun to be with, always a strong opinion - and loved his family and you - most of all!
Ray, we miss you already!