Cover photo for Judge Ray Holbrook's Obituary
Judge Ray Holbrook Profile Photo

Judge Ray Holbrook

January 10, 1927 — May 1, 2024

Galveston County

Judge Ray Holbrook

Charles Ray Holbrook Jr., 97, – The ultimate Aggie, runner, biker, educator, boy scout, county judge, father, and husband, passed away on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Bryan, Texas.

 

A visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at Emken Linton Funeral Home in Texas City. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at St Michaels Episcopal Church in La Marque with a burial to follow at Galveston Memorial Cemetery. A reception will take place at St Michaels Episcopal Church after the burial.

 

He was born on January 10, 1927, in San Bernardino, California to Irma Higgins Holbrook and C. Ray Holbrook Sr. He was an only child.

 

He was predeceased by his loving wife, Mary Ann Holbrook; parents, Irma Holbrook and C. Ray Holbrook Sr.; and stepmother, Gladys Kendrick Holbrook.

 

Ray is survived by his son, Dr. “Sonny” C. Ray Holbrook III and wife Jeanine; their 3 children, Jack, Jessie, Dustin; Lauren and husband Terry Spalding; Lee Ann and husband Bruce Postma; and their 7 children; Jacob, Rachel, Sarah, Caleb, Hallelujah, Faith and Joshua; 6 great grandchildren; and many loving friends and family.

 

Ray was married to the former Mary Ann Fite in 1954 for 65 years and had 3 children.

He was a member of both St Michaels Episcopal Church in La Marque and St Georges Episcopal Church in Texas City. He was a member of the Vestry of both churches for many terms, a Layreader for 65 years, and a Senior Warden at both churches.

 

Ray and his mother, Irma, moved to Alpine, Texas in 1936 after his parents divorced while his mother finished her degree at Sul Ross State Teachers College. They then moved to Rio Honda, Texas, where Irma taught school and then to San Benito, Texas. They finally moved to Baytown, Texas, where Irma completed her career as a schoolteacher in 1964.

 

Ray attended school in Santa Cruz, California, in grades 1-4, where his father was the superintendent of schools. He attended school in Alpine, Rio Honda, San Benito, and Baytown, then he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1944. Holbrook then enrolled in Texas A&M and finished 3 semesters before he was drafted into the U. S. Navy in June of 1945. He was sent to San Diego, California for Boot Camp and then entered the Electronics Technician program. His training was in Chicago, Illinois, Del Monte, California, and then to Corpus Christi, Texas, in the Aircraft Radar Technician school. He was discharged in August of 1946, at Camp Wallace in Hitchcock, Texas, which is now a premier Galveston County Park named after Congressman Jack Brooks.

 

Ray then returned to Texas A&M and graduated in May of 1949 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He continued his studies at A&M and received an MS in Chemical Engineering in 1952. While at A&M Ray was on the track team and the cross-country team. He lettered 4 years in track and 2 years in cross country. A&M won the Southwest Conference track title 3 years with Ray running the 440 and the mile relay. In 1948, the A&M mile relay team were national champions, with a best time of 3:11.0 and were undefeated. In 1949, the mile relay set a SWC record with a 3:13 time. Ray won the SWC title in the 440 and set a SWC record with a 47.1 time and was undefeated in the 440 that year. The track coaches during those years were legionary Col Frank Anderson and Ray Putnam. Ray was named Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, was a student member of the Athletic Council and received the Engineering Achievement Award as a senior in 1949.

 

Since graduation at A&M, he has been active in former student activities. He was a member of the Letterman’s Association and served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. He was a member of the Former Student Association and donated for 70 years, as well as being an Endowed Century Club Member. At Texas A&M in Galveston, Ray served on the Board of Visitors for 6 years. Ray also helped with the track team by officiating at both the indoor and outdoor meets. In 1983 he was named to the Athletic Hall of Fame by the Letterman’s Association and in 2014, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Former Students Association.

 

He moved to Texas City in 1952 and was employed by Monsanto Company as a research engineer and later as a design engineer. He enrolled in the U. H. Law School in 1953 and graduated in 1959 with a LLB in Law. He was transferred to the Monsanto Patent Department and was employed there until 1964. After 12 years with Monsanto, Ray opened a law office in La Marque with Don Brown and Roy Engelke, both now deceased.

Previously while still with Monsanto, he was elected to the State Board of Education and served in that office from 1960 until 1967.

 

In 1966, Ray ran for County Judge of Galveston County and was elected in the democratic primary in June and had no opponent in November. He assumed office in January of 1967 and served for 28 years as County Judge.  He retired as County Judge in 1995.

 

As County Judge, Ray initiated many county government reforms, such as the County Parks Department, Juvenile Probation, Data Processing Department, the County Health District, the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program, the Galveston County Water Authority, the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District, and establishing county annex buildings in Santa Fe, League City and Bolivar Peninsula. Ray also initiated the county highway program in partnership with the Texas Dept of Transportation.

 

He was involved in the beginning of the Houston – Galveston Area Council and was president of the organization in 1994. He participated in the state and regional organizations for county officials and was President of the South Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association in 1993-1994. Ray also was one of the small groups which began the Conference of Urban Counties in 1988 and was president of the group in 1992. He also participated in the National Association of Counties for many years and the National Association of Regional Councils, in which he was a Board member for 3 years.

 

One lasting project in county government was the Alternate Social Security Plan, whereby Galveston County dropped out of the Federal Social Security program and established one for the county employees that pays 2 to 3 times the retirement benefits as does Social Security. That was in 1980 and has been a roaring success ever since. It has been a model for the whole USA for those interested in the future of Social Security. Brazoria and Matagorda Counties also joined the system, but legislation was passed in 1983 to close the door on other counties leaving Social Security and cut off about 50 other counties trying to adopt the Galveston County plan.

 

Ray was also a longtime volunteer in the Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts and was on the Bay Area Executive Board for over 20 years.  In 2006 he was given the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award for his years as a volunteer scout and chairing the Council Friends of Scouting drive for 3 years. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Boy Scouts in 2014, right after he broke his leg in a bicycle accident and Lauren and Lee Ann went to the event to receive the award in honor of their father. He was a lifetime Boy Scout through and through. As a Scout in Highlands Texas, he won his Eagle Scout badge in 1943, with his mother pinning the badge on him.

 

As a senior citizen, Ray participated in the Senior Olympics by running, race walking, and bike riding. He ran in hundreds of fun-runs and bike rides in the Houston-Galveston Area, such as the MS150 and the Bike around the Bay Race. While he was County Judge, Ray enjoyed running on the beach at noon and often used running with friends as a stress reliever. But nevertheless, his favorite sport was tennis. He played tennis all his life, although he was never good enough to play in high school or at A&M. He finally had to quit when he had a knee replacement in 2010.

 

Ray also stayed active in county politics and community affairs in his retirement. He was a board member of Prevent Blindness Galveston County for 8 years until the state organization abolished the Galveston County Chapter. He was Chairman of the Galveston County Chapter in 2004. One of the most important adjuncts to County Government is the Gulf Coast Water Authority, which supplies treated water to most cities of the county and untreated water to the industries in Galveston and Brazoria Counties. He was appointed to the Board of the Water Authority in 2011 by the Commissioners Court and served until January of 2016.

 

What Ray really loved most out of life were his 3 children,10 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. He enjoyed taking them on trips to the great outdoors, just like the Boy Scouts do. In 1978 he and his son, Sonny, took an Outward-Bound canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In 1987, Ray and his son-in-law, Terry, climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. In 2006, Ray, Terry and 2 grandsons took on an Outward-Bound rafting trip on the Green River in Utah. Lastly, in 2012, Ray, Bruce, and 3 grandsons took another Outward-Bound rafting trip on the Colorado River in Utah.

 

Those trips were supplements to a trip in 1953, where C. Ray Holbrook Sr., Ray, and 2 Aggie friends took a trip to the High Sierras in California. Ray’s dad who was an expert mountain climber and fisherman. That was in the mountains above Bakersfield. Driving home from their wonderful camping trip, they were hit by a car, and spent several days in a Lordsburg hospital, and then in Federal Court in Santa Fe, NM. They won the case. 

What an incredible life Ray has had. It included many years of excitement and service to the citizens of Galveston County, and especially to his church and his Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cru Valor Ministries. https://give.cru.org/1017629

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judge Ray Holbrook, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

St Michael's Episcopal Church

1601 Lake Rd, La Marque, TX 77568

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Interment

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Galveston Memorial Park Cemetery

7301 Memorial St, Hitchcock, TX 77563

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Reception

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

St Michael's Episcopal Church

1601 Lake Rd, La Marque, TX 77568

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