Rayford “Ray” Alfred Kocian passed away peacefully on February 1, 2023, at his home in Caldwell, Texas. Visitation will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at Strickland Funeral Home in Caldwell, Texas from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The funeral service will be Monday, February 6, 2023, at 10:00 am at Strickland Funeral Home.
Ray was born on April 18, 1944, to Mike and Ella Kocian of Yoakum, Texas at the family home. Ray attended and graduated from Yoakum High School, where he played football and ran track.
After graduating high school, Ray went to work at Straus and Franks in Houston, Texas, where he worked constructing high rise buildings. In June 1965, Ray joined the Air Force and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and later was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. While stationed there, Ray married the love of his life, Mary Whitley, on November 30, 1965. In 1967, Ray was transferred to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, where he completed his military career. In 1968, his oldest child, Jennifer, was born. The family moved to Houston, Texas, where his youngest child, Timothy, was later born.
Ray’s pastimes revolved around his wife and children. He was ever-present coaching their sports teams, helping the kids practice, or simply watching them play. He was proud of his children, committed to them, and rarely missed attending anything they participated in. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and he loved enjoying both with Tim as well as playing golf and basketball with Jennifer. He loved being outdoors and had a pasture he enjoyed showing off to everyone who visited. He would always take them out “to check the cows,” put out feed, and as Jennifer would say “count the blades of grass.”
Ray was a man with a fierce work ethic, and he loved to set lofty goals and accomplish them. He had a very successful career and worked for several companies before he started his own business. In 1981, in Cypress, Texas, he started Ray’s Torch and Regulator repair out of his garage, and his business grew to the point that by 1990, he and Mary owned and operated Cypress 290 Welding Supply. Ray’s determination and confidence in himself and his abilities made him a great success. He never let anyone or anything stop him from achieving his goals and accomplishing his dreams.
Ray was who he was, and you either liked him or you didn’t, but you always knew where you stood with him. He created lifelong friends because he was honest, dependable, reliable, and always there when others needed him. He appreciated those who helped make his welding supply and cattle businesses successful. On March 31, 2015, Ray retired to spend time with his family, his pasture, and his cows. In his final years, Ray could frequently be found riding his tractor or driving his truck to each end of the pasture admiring his land and cattle. Ray was a man who enjoyed life and he loved his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. He rarely had a conversation where he didn’t include how proud he was of his family and their accomplishments.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Godfrey “Mike” and Ella Kocian and by his brother, Joseph John Kocian of Yoakum, Texas.
Ray is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Jennifer Kocian of Willis, son Timothy Kocian of Caldwell, and his three grandchildren, Halle, Brody, and Kennedy Kocian, as well as his many siblings: brother Victor (Dena) Kocian of Stafford, Texas, sisters Deloris Renger of Halletsville, Texas, Virginia Gandy of Athens, Texas, Ella (Johnny) Loos of Shiner, Texas, and Beatrice (Mike) Flanagan of Pearland, Texas. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and many personal friends he considered family, including Carla Cobb of Willis, Texas.
Pallbearers will include Kenny Renger, Michael Renger, Brian Kocian, Michael Flanagan, Christopher Gandy, and John Neal.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Rosehill Social Club or to Cook’s Point Methodist Church.