View Full Version : Sad Day for the Lone Star Boat Racing Association

08-14-2010, 04:33 PM
We lost a very good friend of boat racing yesterday. Ray Yates, the last Commador of the Lone Star Boat Racing Association, after a long illness, passed away yesterday. I am saddened to have to report this to everyone, as I know a lot of you were very good friends of Ray. Ray not only raced for many years, he was a pit man for Bruce Nicholson for many years, as well as promoted races at the Baytown Boat Club. He was the driving force behind keeping the races alive at the Baytown Boat Club for the PROS and OPC raceboats. If you couldn't get along with Ray, you wouldn't get along with anyone. He was always ready to help anyone whether it be at the club or at the boat races. Wayne and I were talking about it today, about how the Lone Star Boat Racing Reunion came together. We talked to Ray and decided we would open it to anyone in boat racing. After thinking about it for a while, Ray said he would do one more reunion at the Baytown Boat Club. If it were not for Ray agreeing to do one more reunion, we would not have gotten Ron HIll to come to Texas. He did not believe that there would be that much interest. Boy, was he mistaken. Ron had a great idea to do a reunion at DePue. God Bless You, Ray. We love you......We will let you all know of the arrangement when they become available.

Bill Van Steenwyk
08-14-2010, 04:43 PM
Everytime I had the pleasure of seeing Ray, last time at DePue a couple of years ago, he always had that big smile on his face and seemed genuinely happy to see you and talk over the good times racing in the 70's and 80's when we made a few races in Texas, and then would also see he and Ray Jr. at the National and WC events he attended.

Even though it was obvious he was not in the best of health the last time I saw him, he never complained and just talked about the good times. Like several others we have lost recently, he was truly "one of the good guys".

God Bless and RIP Ray..

Master Oil Racing Team
08-14-2010, 08:17 PM
Joe had it right. A lot of people around the country probably didn't know Ray. He was never a front runner, but in Texas he was consistent and did accomplish some high point victories. Ray was what "old timers" would call "salt of the earth". That saying is old timey and long forgotten, but it means that Ray Yates was of solid stone when it comes to humanity. You could depend upon Ray no matter what the circumstance.

Ray Yates loved boat racing. I don't actually know how, why or who got him started, but he began racing A and B runabout in a Morton built hull (I think) with a Merc Quincy named "Bluebird" just before I started.

I wish I could remember the first time I met Ray, but he was just an unassuming, easy going guy that I can't. I just remember seeing his white with red trimmed runabout parked as far left at the boat ramp at Baytown as you could get in 1966.

As time went by my Dad and myself became great friends with Ray, Martha, Denise and Little Ray. The Older daughter was not around as much and I forget her name.

The thing about Ray Yates was that he loved boat racing, and wanted to be a part of it forever, even though he didn't have the money or talent to be a consistent winner. Ray was always there though. And he did challenge you if you were not watching.

I had been out of racing for a long time. Joe Rome would always keep me updated on how the Texas boys did at the nationals. He also sent me pictures from around 1999 or 2000 when Ray Yates organized a Lone Star Reunion. It may have been later than that, but I can't be sure. The last Lone Star Reunion I had attended was 20 years earlier not long before Lone Star Boat Racing Association succumbed. Tim and Ruth Butts were there and our daughter Alexis met Ryan Butts. All that was Ray's doings. I'm not sure of how many Lone Star Reunions were held between 1983 and 2005, but I know there was at least one and maybe two..

When Joe got me hooked up to BRF, I never had posted any comments nor pictures anywhere before. I didn't know what to do, but I was so enthralled by the BRF format that I learned how. It was the same way with Ray Yates. Joe told Ray about BRF and soon he was hooked. His wife Martha told me at the time that Ray had no clue about a computer except where the ON switch was. Martha said that after a few weeks, he was climbing under the cabinet to hook up wires to a new computer.:cool:

From then on Ray kept up with the current and past boat racing. Then, I don't remember how it started, but someone wanted to have a Lone Star Boat Racing Association reunion. The pitch continued and Joe talked to Ray about it. Ray had gone through some medical problems and was doing O.K., but he really didn't want to go through the troubles of organizing one more reunion. Alky racing was over for a long time in Texas, and it would just be a lot of work for a club meeting.

However, after more hype on BRF about a Lone Star Reunion, and posts about Lone Star on BRF began circulating, a lot of outside interest developed. Ray got into the hype itself. A lot of people got interested in the reunion. Since Alky racing at Baytown ceased to exist, and OPC held events there, it was decided to open it up to any and all boat racers. The excitement built. Who was coming and who wasn't was passed around. We had a roll call. Name tags were ordered. It became apparent that the event would be much bigger than anticipated.

Having been a recent member of BRF, but knowing the pulling capacity of co-founder Ron Hill, I contacted Ron to see if he would attend. At that time BRF was still growing. Ron got caught up in the hype and drove his red pickup to the reunion with a stop at Dudley Malone's in Oklahoma to pick up motors and parts.

I think Ron was impressed at the turnout, and we all deemed it successful beyond our imaginations. Ray Yates had originally declined to put on one more reunion. He was tired, and he did most of the organizing and work. He said this would be his last. Yet there is still a legacy to attach to Ray Yates.

For BRF members who were not around during the many posts leading up to the Lone Star Reunion, you do not realize the depth of interest from people around the country that wish they could have attended. The aftermath of that resulted in the first DePue Reunion. The success of that was untold times of the Lone Star Reunion. DePue brought people from all outboard categories together,and at this point is unmatched in attendance from historical persons involved in outboard racing.

The reunion at DePue was sparked by the willingness of one boat racer Ray Yates to put together one more reunion.

Rest in peace Ray.

Master Oil Racing Team
08-14-2010, 09:14 PM
One of the highlights of that reuenion David was that Joe and I got to meet you. You were one of the hyped up guys that did what it took to make it. Tommy Posey came. Bill Holland was there. Pete De'Lackner showed up. It was a memorable event all around, I met Tracy Hawkins there and other OPC guys I hadn't seen in a long time like Bob Schubert, and got to meet his son Mike. It was a great git together that wouldn't have happened if it were not for Ray Yates.

08-15-2010, 08:51 AM
Very saddened to hear of Rayís passing. Our prayers and condolences to all the family.
I would like to say this about Ray, he always came by and said hello and talk to you.
Made you feel welcome and part of the action. A true gentleman in Lone Star club and boat racing. Iím very glad I went to the last reunion and was able to see him one more time.

Stan Henderson

Steve Litzell
08-15-2010, 05:18 PM
I received the sad news today about Ray from Bruce Nicholson, How sad , I remember the first time I met Ray with Bruce at DePue. I had delivered a new DeSilva A boat that I painted for Bruce. After Bruce and Ray gave her a Texas walk around looking and saying what a pretty boat, They then went off under the cotton woods and took a chain saw to the transom so the A Yamaha would fit> I always told Ray and Bruce that I would never forgive them for that one but hey, it was all in fun. Latter I humored Ray up with some of my stories and after that He always called me precious after one of the story lines. I will miss him at the races as I have over last few years.:(

Master Oil Racing Team
08-15-2010, 06:49 PM
Steve....is that story line one you can post on here in memory of Ray? If not....I want to hear it the next time we get together. Then we can both remember Ray then....again.

Bill Van Steenwyk
08-15-2010, 06:55 PM

If it is the same "precious" story I heard a few years ago, it is probably not publishable on BRF, but if it is the same one, it is funny. You might have to wait till you see Litzell or better yet, come to Lake Alfred. The politics can wait. Old friends sometimes can't, especially as we are all getting older.

08-15-2010, 07:25 PM
Ray was always one to come by and search me out during the Nationals at Depue and spend some time visiting. He and his wife would always end up sitting behind/alongside the PA booth where my family would sit and they were family to us. My Mom and Ray's wife always were visiting away, never mind the boat racing going on.

I will miss that big smile and his his bear hugs!

Rest in peace Ray!


Master Oil Racing Team
08-15-2010, 08:10 PM
In the last few years Ray and I would talk about how he got to Winona in 1976. He always insisted that he talked Martha into going to Winona by way of vistiting relatives, but he didn't have a trailer. I went to his house and spent the night. That's where we loaded his runabout, A lightning strike blew out a hole in Denise's room the night before and there was about a 3X4 foot hole that they had covered in plastic. Before we left the next morning Ray was not allowed to leave unless the diswasher was fixed. I helped him. That's where it gets fuzzy. My Dad didn't drive up with us. I must have driven over to Jack Chance's to pick him up. Ray doesn't remember driving up with us...which I think we would have both remembered...and he ended up staying at the Mustang Hotel on the west end of Winona. My Dad flew in, and it was just Jack and I, plus maybe a pitman that drove up. Everytime Ray and I got to talking about how he got there, we were at a loss. He was there, but he didn't fly...he didn't come with Martha so it wasn't the Nebraska trip....so who knows? But we had fun talking about it and I have pictures of him in the pits and the race course at Winona....so we know he was there. RIP Ray.

08-16-2010, 09:36 AM
Joe had it right. A lot of people around the country probably didn't know Ray. He was never a front runner, but in Texas he was consistent and did accomplish some high point victories. Ray was what "old timers" would call "salt of the earth". That saying is old timey and long forgotten, but it means that Ray Yates was of solid stone when it comes to humanity. You could depend upon Ray no matter what the circumstance.

The comment above tells me how much your friendship meant to you and I am sure Ray. Your rememberence of him was not for what he did on the race course, but for who he was as a person. That will long outlive what any of us do in terms of our racing accomplishments, but who he was will live forever in our hearts.

Thanks again,

Master Oil Racing Team
08-16-2010, 10:09 AM
Your comment says that you knew him well Ray. Salt of the earth is one of the very statements I made to Joe when he called me with the news, and Joe agreed. Ray sold Utitlity truck trailers. He would occasionally travel to the valley or Laredo and he never failed to stop to visit with my Dad and me. In fact, he timed his trip to do just that so he knew we would be there.

08-16-2010, 11:13 AM
I am honored to be among Ray's many, many friends. A wonderful father, husband and friend. Great to hear the stories about Ray. Ray and Baldy always treated everyone with an outstretched hand. Expressing their friendship. Ray always made racing in Texas great fun. The stories and thoughts will be in hearts and minds always. Deepest sympathy to "Little Ray" and the family. We miss you Ray....
Alan Ishii

08-16-2010, 11:41 AM
Rosewood Funeral Home
3939 Pasadena Blvd
Pasadena, TX 770503

2:00 P.M.

No flowers please. If you wish, you may send a donation to the Cancer Association of your choice.

Thank you.

Glyn mathews
08-16-2010, 06:46 PM
for those that didn't know Ray he was very special , his love for the sport and drivers was felt every time we would drive in the gate at Baytown Boat Club . He will be missed by us local racers.

09-13-2011, 08:41 PM
Lone Star Boat Racing Association lost a good supporter yesterday. Louis started driving boats in 1946 and not only did he drive, he was in charge of the Neches River Festival Boat Racing for over 25 years. Under his watch, we had a lot of successful races. I lost a very good friend. I hope that he likes "Lake Paradise".

You will find his obit below and here is the link to it:


Louis M. Williams, Jr.
January 12, 1930 - September 12, 2011
Louis M. Williams, Jr., 81, of Beaumont, died Monday, September 12, 2011. A native and lifelong resident of Beaumont, Louis was born January 12, 1930, to Nell Mae Brown and Louis Matthew Williams, Sr.

Louis attended Beaumont High School and was a graduate of both Lamar Institute of Technology and Commonwealth College of Mortuary Science; he was also a United States Navy Veteran. He and his late brother Wallace were partners in L.M. Williams and Sons Funeral Directors and Williams Ambulance Service; companies founded by their father in 1942. A former world champion outboard-motor boat racer, Louis served as chairman of the boat racing program of the Neches River Festival for more than 20 years before eventually becoming the festival's community events coordinator. He was a fifty year member of Tolerance Lodge 1165 AF & AM and the El Mina Shrine.

His stepson, Randolph Thomas Roane; niece, Anne E. Williams-Schrang; and brother and parents preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Reed Williams; son, Louis Matthew Williams III and his wife, Andrea and their children, Louis Wilson Williams and John Randolph Williams; three stepsons and their families: William Arthur Roane and his wife, Sally and their children, William Thomas Roane and Jed Arthur Roane and their grand-child, Abigaile Jourdan Roane; James Fant Roane II and his wife Dena; Stephen Christopher Roane and his wife, Rachael and their children, Terrell Christopher Roane, Cameron Cunningham Low Roane, Connor Gilbert Roane, Mary Margaret Roane, and Catherine Callie Roane; sister-in-law, Nell Florey Williams; nephew, Wallace D. Williams, Jr.; cousins, Sassy Soper and Margaret Sample and her husband, Don; and grand-dog, Bumper T. Williams.

His funeral service will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 14, 2011, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 680 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, with a graveside service to follow at 4:00 p.m. in Magnolia Cemetery, under the direction of Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. A gathering of his family and friends will follow his service in the Cloister Room at the church.

09-13-2011, 09:08 PM
Louis Williams in 14T

09-14-2011, 06:40 AM
Joe, Thank you for the wonderful tribute to our friend. Louis will be missed.
Indeed a sad day for boat racing.

09-14-2011, 08:06 AM
what a great man. we will all miss you louis.thanks for the great memories.

09-14-2011, 10:04 AM
There has never been or will never be anyone quite like Louis. He will be missed. He could do things in a runabout that seemed impossible, and he made it look easy. We lost one of the legends of Lone Star.

09-14-2011, 10:08 AM
Louis Williams was just one really nice guy. A real gentleman and will missed by all who knew him. May the good Lord be with him and the family.

Tim Chance
09-14-2011, 02:16 PM
Yes, Louis was well, Louis. And I am proud to been one of his many friends.

Master Oil Racing Team
09-15-2011, 10:54 AM
The funeral came up so quickly I had to scramble to make it, but I'm glad I did. I had dawdled on dropping my suit off at the cleaner's after Marshall Grant's funeral so I did that first thing Tuesday morning. When Joe called a couple of hours later, I rushed back to get it, and luckily they had not started on it. Then I had to rush all around to take care of things before I headed out early Wednesday morning. It was for the most part a standard well put together funeral, (which one might expect at the funeral of a former funeral directory), but it turned out to be probably one of the top three or four memorable funerals I have attended. We all know that funerals are for the living to pay respects for the deceased, and so they are not something we enjoy, but we do it for our past associations and to comfort one another for our loss, and for the respect of the deceased and family members. Every once in awhile something happens to set apart a funeral from all others, and in most cases I have seen it is not the professional director, but a family member that does or says something special. And that is tough because it is a very trying time, and most people are terrified at speaking at crowds. At my Dad's funeral everyone compliemented Debbie and I on our daughter Alexis's piano playing. She was only fiffteen and was very nervous, but she played two songs flawlessly. At Louis' funeral, it was his son Matt that stepped up and gave by far the best eulogy and tribute to a father, (or for that matter anyone) that I have ever heard.

I had never met Matt until yesterday. The guide to the services did not show a break for Matt to speak, but he had prearranged with the priests at what point he wanted to get up and say a few words. I supposed everyone expected, as I did (but probably not Louis' wife Mary), that it would be a short, maybe choking, little talk about growing up with Louis as his Dad. Matt started off in a rather dramatic matter, slowly deliberately setting the stage for the championship basketball battle against their arch enemy the St Anthony's Bulldogs. About ten minutes into it, the silence in the audience at the beginning was so complete that it began to become noticeable. No coughing, no shufulling in the seats....the whole crowd was just mesmerized. Matt had gone beyound their teams loss and moved on to being the son of a funeral director as a teenager and all that goes through relationships with young men and their fathers through their twenties, the problems, the pranks, the situations that come up. Matt, without any hestitaion, pausing, forgetting or halting, went on in a measusred matter, that now occassionally brought laughs to the audience, but that were otherwise quiet. Many nodded in agreement over Matts explaining a number of Louis' quirks to a knowing audience, and a great many smiles. Matt continued on and never once lost his audience. It was all about him and how his relationship with "father" developed, split, became foggy , and was finalized in a newfound relationship the final few years. About twenty minutes into it, I was getting kind of a weird feeling like I was almost in the audience of a dramatic play watching a funeral scene. Matt is a very handsome man and has the looks of a leading man movie star. Had someone taken a professional quality video and played it back on a screen I would have thought it was a movie scene. Matt spoke for about thirty minutes, and he had the audience the whole time.

Joe's wife Karen and I went back to the lounge with the family while Joe was with the rest of the pallbearers Karen and I were talking about Matt's tribute. She told Matt she wished it had been recorded and I agreed. Louis was a perfectionist. He was known by his friends to be cheap;) (not reaching for the tab, getting into sports events free, etc.:D) but he never had anything associated with what he did look anything else but professional. His son Matt gave him a very professional and heartfelt sendoff.

09-15-2011, 12:07 PM
Wayne, thanks so much for putting into words a synopsis of Louis' funeral. I was so mesmerized by Matt's eulogy and it left me wanting to hear more. What a tribute to Louis by his son. Joe lost a good and dear friend in Louis (although Joe could have choked him a few times :D). Louis's wife, Mary, was so gracious and invited everyone back to her home for dinner. Everything was wonderful and we all continued to visit and tell stories of Louis' escapades, some we had never heard before :rolleyes:. Our sides were hurting from laughing so much. Joe, Wayne and I left, going back to Houston and we continued to speak of Louis. This is the first funeral that I have ever been to, that when I left, I was not depressed and sad. :p


Gene East
09-15-2011, 08:08 PM
When Joe called me Tuesday, I could tell just by the tone of his voice that something was wrong.

Joe and I talk on the phone regularly. Usually he talks until someone needs help at the store. He often gave me updates on Louis, this call was different. Just the cold hard facts and then he said goodby.

There was a saddness in Joe's voice that is seldom heard. He was telling a mutual friend that one of his dearest friends had passed away.

I was proud to call Louis my friend.

For those of you who never knew Louis, forget the stereo-typical impression of a mortician.

He was a fierce competitor and an extremely funny man.

09-16-2011, 08:37 AM
Gene, A person cannot have a better friend than Joe Rome. Joe visited Louis regularly and would call when he was there if Louis felt like talking. We are very fortunate to be among Joe's many, many friends. My thoughts are very much about our friends in Texas. Louis, Ray, Baldy, Buddy and so many others that made that part of my life an absolute joy.
I can remember getting so close to Louis you could not have placed your hand between the two boats. Of course, Louis usually won. I was often the victim of Louis's wry wit. I know he only picked on the people he liked. He MUST have really liked me! Joe Rome is the most loyal and BEST of friends.

Master Oil Racing Team
09-16-2011, 08:39 PM
You made me grin Alan about only a hand between your boats.:eek: Let me guess. I think you were doing your best to win......and Louis was the one who was trying to tweek you by rubbing chines. And if I'm right....it was down a straight, with plenty of room for a boat to pass by.:D

If I'm not right and it was in a turn, then I don't think you would have remembered it because that happens. Louis would do that in a turn too, but I think you had the same experience I did while growing up as a runabout driver. You already were a good driver, but as I told people at the funeral, Louis was like a big dog who would intimidate you and find out what you were made of. I may be wrong in your experience, but I bet I'm not.:D

09-17-2011, 12:31 PM
Yeah Wayne! Louis would snuggle up real close on the straightaway. If you moved over, he knew he had you. If you bumped him, he respected you. I think it should also be mentioned here that Louis was quite the fashionista. Louis was the first one that I ever saw wearing his pants low like all of the kids wear them today!
We miss you Louis.

Master Oil Racing Team
09-17-2011, 01:31 PM
Louis and Bruce Nicholson were getting so much respect for each other all the way down the back straight at Alex one year Alan, that Bruce sunk in the turn and Louis made it all the way back to the pits before he went down.;):D

ADD: Just got off the phone with Joe. A thought had occurred to me and I asked him "Joe...if Louis had an F runabout, would you ride with him?" He didn't even hestitate "In a boat? Hell yeah! A piece of cake. You must have never rode in a car with him. Especially an ambulance. We once crossed a railroad track in his 421 four speed duece and flew fifty or sixty feet through the air before we landed.:eek: The first one to the scene gets the body.":D

09-17-2011, 06:47 PM
If you ever rode with Louis, you will know what I am talking about. He drove those ambulances harder than he did an A Runabout. He said first one there gets the body, but if he got there second and the first ambulance's door was not open yet, Louis would drive right up to the rear bumper and park. Then they could not open their ambulance door. :eek: Can you imagine??? It was common play back then between ambulance companies. So, I would ride with Louis in an F Runabout and feel safer than when riding with him in an ambulance.:D Cause I never saw Louis flip a runabout in all the years that he raced!!!!!:cool: Gene was right, Louis was a fierce competitor on land as well as water.;)

Master Oil Racing Team
10-29-2011, 02:01 PM
Follow up to Louis' funeral. After the funeral we went over to Louis' house. His son Matt showed us the old boats, motors and parts in his garage. Mary said she wanted Ricky LeBlanc, Reles' son to have them. Mary had told this to Joe after Ricky had left and headed back to Louisiana. On the way home Joe called Ricky to give him the news. He flew on cloud 9 all the way back home.

I called Joe this morining and he was sitting in a Cracker Box having breakfast with Reles, Ricky,and a cousin of Ricky's. They were there to pick up the equipment. Reles had been having some health problems and he told Joe he took extra special care of himself the last three weeks so he could make this trip. It was a wonderful bittersweet reunion for Mary, Ricky, Reles and Joe. Mary was so happy to find the perfect home for Louis' stuff. Ricky grew up in the pits with Reles, and then later with Louis. Ricky's grandfather, Reles' Dad, used to come to Alexandria to watch the races. Ricky had told Joe, Karen and I about wanting a runabout like Louis' when he was younger, but couldn't afford it. At the time he told us, none of us were aware of what Mary would tell Joe only a few hours later.

Joe called me back just about twenty minutes ago and he just got home and that Ricky and Reles were just crossing the border back into Louisiana. They had a great time, and everyone was pumped up including Mary who was very happy with the home for Louis' equpment. Joe also told me he got a bunch of old Lone Star Boat Racing Association decals, an 8 oz metal can of Master Oil (circa 1973), a gallon can of Master Oil with the white paper lable (circa 1968, and a Grant fuel tank. He's going to see if Randy Grant wants it, and it not, he will put it in my museum, and he's going to do the same with the gallon of MX-237 THE MASTER OIL.

I told Joe to tell Ricky to send us a picture after he gets all the dust and spiderwebs off the boat and we can put it on BRF.

Steve Litzell
11-06-2011, 09:20 AM
I have been out of town working and just learned of Louis' death. How sad to learn this. Louis and I were also friends as we met back in the Mid 80"s at the nationals at Ackworth. I had only known Louis from a far if you will until then. We were both running B runabout and after the first heat of he and I trading paint and he trying all he could to shake me, he came back to the pits and asked Joe Rome, " Who is that 109 guy?" Joe told him my name and the next heat it was much the same, he tried to run me out to and through the bull rushes and I don't think he was ready for me to back off completely and turn in right at his Yamato pipes and blow through the rooster tail and end up inside of him. After the second heat again,he asked Joe Rome "Who is that in 109?" Joe told him again my name. " Where did he come from?" Joe again told him that I and Ralph towed together. Last heat, same as the first two, he couldn't shake me and he had to deal with me to get at Ralph who won the first two heats. Ralph ended up winning, louis was second and I third. Louis came down to me and said "I had to meet the masked man". That is what he always called me, "The Masked Man" as every heat he would ask joe "Who was that 109?" That started a good friendship from afar as Louis would sometimes come up to Lake Village Ar to watch the races and would hang out at our trailer. A true Gentleman and a source of good humor. he told me one time there was a man that went to the doctor and learned he was terminal and little time to live. The man asked the doctor, "Is there anything I can do to help me?" The doctor said, "You can take a Mud bath every day." The man said,' Will this cure me?" "No" said the doctor, "It will just get you used to the dirt." That was louis' style and humor. I will miss that very much. RIP my friend. Steve:(:(

Master Oil Racing Team
11-06-2011, 01:40 PM
Steve....Joe always called to keep me up with the news, even though I'd been away from boat racing for years. He first told me that story right after he got back from the races. About six or seven years ago I had a delivery about ten miles west of Beaumont just off of IH10. I picked up Joe and we met Louis at Don's Seafood where we had an excellent meal, but even better get together. I was a six hour drive back home for me, but we stayed and talked for a couple of hours in the restaurant. Louis told me that same story in his own words, and I can hear them to this day in his gravelly like voice with a sneer looking smile on his face. It was also one of the stories Joe told when we were on the way to his funeral, and I have heard it many times in between. A contest like that is never forgotten, and Louis always respected "that masked man" because not once, not twice but three times you made him work for his position. Great story Steve.

Master Oil Racing Team
09-07-2013, 08:28 PM
A few pages back was the loss of Ray Yates who was called out of retirement to put together the last and extremely successful final Lone Star Boat Racing Association Reunion, and which became the inspiration for the very successful first DePue Reunion put together by Ron Hill, John Schubert, Joe Rome, Cookie Hooghkirk and others.

This past Friday Joe Rome and I attended the funeral of Ray's beloved and devoted wife Martha. It was an overflow crowd in excess of 250 people. Martha and Ray's family alone always met the break even point at the Baytown sponsorship of their races. They are a solid and dedicated boat racing family even though only Ray and L'il Ray raced. Martha was always there to sign in the racers, help with scoring, cheer on her boys, and anything that needed to be done. As usual, Joe and I found Martha and her brood at the OPC race at Baytown this past spring and had a very good visit.

I regret very much not having posted these pictures when Ray and Martha were both alive. I'm still not even half way with posting all my pictures, and these were some I never would have considered except for the subject matter.

It was at the APBA Western Divisionals at Calaveras Lake in San Antonio, Texas in 1974. The wind had kicked up for a heat of C Runabout. Ray got a good start. He drove well and I believe he won the race and beat Bruce Nicholson. We were pitting close by and when Ray busted out in front I started looking toward Martha to get shots of her reaction. She was very excited and the women around her were too. The only other one I know is Bruce Nicholson's wife Susan who is in a couple of frames and pointing. The lighting was terrible. I was not in a good position, or with the right lens to get racing photos, and to top it off, I underexposed the film badly and did a very poor job of developing the film. So I never planned to post these, but while looking for pictures of Martha to post in honor in remembrance, I thought these pictures are the spirit of Martha and her love and loyalty for Ray. Ray didn't have a glowing boat racing career, but he was steadfast, always there, and to capture Martha's reaction to this heat is priceless to me regardless of the poor film quality.