“His quest was to find and focus on the good in every one of us,” said lifelong friend James Liska at the celebration of life for U.S. Army First Lt. Clovis Ray.
Grown man after grown man took to the podium on Saturday with tears in their eyes to share stories of how Ray had touched their lives.
Some told the room of mourners stories that made them smile and laugh; others told stories that reaffirmed that Ray was a great man.
High school friend Jerry Herrera talked about Ray’s constant encouragement for him to finish high school and go to college. He said he used to visit Ray at work sometimes when he was still in banking and he had “such enthusiasm in his eyes that you would think it was the fourth quarter of a football game.”
Ray had a huge impact on his fellow teammates in both high school and college football.
Former high school coach William “Butch” Porter told the story of how Ray sacrificed his running back position to play tight end because the team was in need.
Then there were many stories from former high school teammates about the extra drills and time in the weight room because Ray had gone to get the keys from the coaches.
Athletic Director Randy Palmer from the Three Rivers ISD told the audience that Ray’s No. 26 jersey would be retired.
His college teammates were no different in their love and admiration for Ray.
“Clovis brought out the best in us and challenged us to be better every day,” Benjamin Hampstead said.
“He was genuinely concerned about the well-being of those around them,” Jon Goodrich said.
More than 30 of his former Macalester College teammates came to Three Rivers on Saturday to pay their respects to Ray and the family who raised such an amazing man.
“I think all these guys would agree he is definitely a brother to us,” former high school teammate Wade Krause said.
When his own twin brother, Eddie, took the stage, he talked about what it meant to be a twin and the special connection they shared.
He expressed also the devotion and love for Clovis’ wife, Shannon, and son, Dean.
Lastly, his brother shared Ray’s three life philosophies that made him who he was: live life optimistically, follow your dreams and have a big heart.
“Clovis, I will miss you every day for the rest of my life,” Eddie said.
Ray was killed in active duty on Afghanistan on March 15.