February 26, 2014 |

Former AFIA President Oakley M. Ray Passes

Served as president of AFIA for 20 years

The American Feed Industry Association is saddened to report that Oakley M. Ray, former AFIA president from 1972-92, passed away Feb. 21, 2014. Ray was born May 5, 1927 to Oakley and Clotilda Siewers Ray, a young farm couple, both natives of Harrison Township (near Vincennes, Ind.).

Oakley was a devoted husband to Yotice (Sally) Ray; they were married for 63 years. He was a father of two, Sue (Ray) Shepard and Mike Ray (Lu Anne Ray) and grandfather of five, Stephen Ray, Michael Dean Shepard, Katherine Ray, Mallory Shepard and Ashley Shepard.

Oakley graduated from the Monroe City High School in 1944 with an enviable record in both books and basketball. He attained fame as a member of the Monroe City High School "Blue Jeans" Basketball team and as a result earned an athletic scholarship to Indiana State Teacher's College (now known as Indiana State). He later enrolled at Vincennes University where he met his wife who he referred to as Sally.


Oakley then attended Purdue University, earning the first 4.0 GPA in agricultural economics in the university's history. He graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University, followed by a year's graduate study at the University of Chicago. Following two years of service in the Army's Scientific and Professional Corps, he joined the Purdue staff as an Extension worker in agriculture economics. He also assisted in teaching a course in livestock marketing and published an economic bulletin for Indiana farmers while pursuing a doctorate degree.


In 1956, Oakley joined the American Meat Institute's staff before coming to work for the American Feed Manufacturers Association, now known as AFIA, in 1958. He served the organization for nearly 35 years in numerous positions including handling legislative and regulatory tasks. In 1972, Oakley became president of AFIA, serving in that capacity for 20 years until his retirement.


He guided AFMA through the transition to AFIA in the 1980s, hired staff specialists on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and was communications savvy-AFIA had one of the first word processing and membership database systems in Washington, D.C. Upon his retirement, AFIA presented the "The Oakley M. Ray Distinguished Leadership Scholarship" to him, which was given at Purdue University School of Agriculture to students selected primarily on leadership within the school.


In 2003, Oakly and Sally moved to Westminster Retirement Community in Lake Ridge, VA. While at Westminster, he has served on the Finance Committee, Health Committee, as Vice Chairman, Potomac Hospital Fund Drive Committee and Treasurer and Resident's Council.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, Feb. 28, at 11 a.m. at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. A reception will immediately follow at the Westminster Retirement Community.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association (Oakley M. Ray Tribute), or by contacting (703) 359-4440. Arrangements are being handled by Miller Funeral Home, 3200 Golansky Blvd., Woodbridge, VA 22192.  

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