Dee Ray, Patsye Jenkins celebrate 60-year anniversary

Up in the Panhandle, they are called Dee and Pat. Down here in Lohn and Pear Valley, they are known as Dee Ray and Patsye. Cousins and former classmates may even think of her as Patsye Ruth. Before she met and married Dee Ray Jenkins, she was Patsye Priest, daughter and only child of Clarence and Jennie (Fowler) Priest of Pear Valley. Patsye was among the 12 graduates from LHS in 1945; three boys and nine girls. Two are deceased,Willis Garner and Tommy Briscoe. Remaining are Cliff Necessary and the girls, Nellie Huie, Aileen Moore, Peggy Jean McShan, Lorraine Hall, Helen Fay Russell, Oleta Amarine, Natalie Newton and Margie Johnson. Cliff, Lorraine and Patsye are the only ones from the class still married to their first spouses. Patsye out- distances them a few years by having been married for 60 years. She and Dee Ray reached that milestone Dec. 22, 2007. Even though Dee Ray and Patsye grew up just 16 miles apart, they never met until the spring of 1946. In the fall of 1945, Patsye was attending college at Texas Tech in Lubbock and Dee Ray was down at College Station studying to become a veterinarian. Their meeting came about because their mothers, Jennie Priest from Pear Valley and Mrs. George Jenkins from Melvin happened to go to Brady on Saturdays to sell their cream and eggs and buy groceries at the Piggly Wiggly store. They would visit with each other and compare notes on their kids in college. During the Easter vacation, Patsye joined her parents for the regular Saturday shopping trip to Brady, as did Dee Ray and his parents. With other shopping to do, they were walking around the square when they met the Jenkins family. Their mothers introduced them and they were quite impressed with each other as neither had ever dated anyone else. And so began a long-distance romance. Sixty years ago, Lubbock and College Station were a long way apart. There were no cell phones, no phones in the dorm rooms; there was only one phone on each dorm hall and phone calls were expensive. Writing letters was a pretty economical way of communication and they kept in touch, anticipating the next college vacation. In the 1947 summer-school session, the miles between them decreased dramatically as Dee Ray decided rather than spend another hot summer in College Station, he would attend Tech to take some electives. He attended both summer semesters and Patsye attended her last semester. When they went home for the Thanksgiving holidays, Dee Ray proposed, gave her a ring and they set a date. They married Dec. 22, 1947, at the First Baptist Church in Brady, officiated by Moore Eubanks, a Church of Christ preacher. They still stay in touch with their attendants, who are longtime friends. Dee Ray and Patsye moved to Texas A&M and shared a house with another veterinary student and his wife, living in College Station for a year and a half while Dee Ray completed his studies. He graduated in June 1949. Unknown to Dee Ray, one of his professors had been asked by Dr. J.D. Williams to keep an eye on a student who would be good to hire to work in Dr. Williams’ practice. Near the end of the year, Dr. Williams visited with Dee Ray to let him know he had been chosen. They moved to Colorado City where he worked for his internship. Business was good: there were a lot of ranch calls long distances away, a lot of night calls, small animals calls, pets to treat and surgeries to perform. Dee Ray had gotten a lot of good experience by the end of the year with Dr. Williams. Dr. Steve King had talked to Dee Ray about moving to Brady and working with him. They were excited about coming back to Central Texas and home. The decision was made and they were soon settled and enjoying being among friends and family. The King family made them feel welcome, and they were happy to be there. Business was good at first, but as time went on, slowly the condition of the country began to change. The drought was affecting the whole area, and it was devastating to the ranchers and cattle business. Many ranchers were selling ranches and liquidating their herds. It was evident they needed to make a move. One of Dee Ray’s classmates and his wife stopped by the Brady Veterinary Clinic after attending a convention in San Antonio and asked Dee Ray to come work in Amarillo since they were needing another veterinarian (an answer to their prayers). They moved to Amarillo in June 1952. Dee Ray started to work in a very busy mixed practice, and it continued to flourish until he sold it in 1979. Dee Ray’s health was causing him some problems, so he changed over to a small animal practice where he worked until he retired in 1990. The Jenkins’ had a house built in the country in 1963 and lived there for 42 years until poor health became a hindrance to keeping the grounds. They loved living there and enjoyed years of fun times. They recently moved into Amarillo which is more suitable for their needs now. Dee Ray has had three open-heart surgeries with a total of 13 bypasses. He now lives with congestive heart failure which is a constant battle of managing breathing problems and fluid build-up. He had many successful years in veterinary medicine, and along with that came many memories. One of Dee Ray’s most interesting experiences was his opportunity to be technical advisor for the movie “Hud,” filmed in the area surrounding Claude. The movie was about a rancher whose cattle were stricken with hoof-and-mouth disease. One of Dee Ray’s jobs was to make healthy cattle look sick. He enjoyed working with Paul Newman who had the lead role. Dee Ray and Patsye have three children and six living grandchildren which are all a joy in their lives. Brenda and Anthony Redd live in Zachary, La. Brenda is a school teacher and has many years to her credit. Anthony is a retired fireman and a professional wallpaper installer. Darla Grimes lives in Amarillo and works at Furniture Row in the Denver Mattress department and is a great salesperson. Jeff and Vali Jenkins live in Amarillo. Jeff has a master’s degree as a landscape architect, and Vali teaches school. Grandchildren are DeJon Redd, Linsye Grimes, Jenny Grimes, Jake Jenkins, Gracie Jenkins, Jeb Jenkins and Wil Jenkins, deceased. Summing up the past 60 years, Patsye said, ‘God has blessed us so many ways in our marriage, while raising our children and now as an example to our grandchildren. We give Him all the praise for allowing us 60 years of married life. ‘ If you wish to congratulate them on their 60 years together, their address is 6819 Cloud Crest Dr., Amarillo, Tex. 79124. *** Mary LaAnn Goheen of Odessa passed away in Lubbock Dec. 19, 2007. Mary was the youngest daughter of Loyd and Blake West. She was born at Lohn in 1935. She, her brother and three sisters attended school here. The West family lived in Lohn for 64 years. She is survived by her husband, Owen; sons, Ray, Calvin and Tim Nobles; a daughter, Joyce Hayhurst and son, Bruce Goheen; several grandchildren; a brother, Phil West of San Antonio; sisters, Odell Lewis of Kingsland, Bernadine Burnett of San Antonio, Grace Larue Krischke of Brownwood; and former Lohn residents/cousins, Eulalia Browning, Mary Browning Ray of Abilene and Merle Draper Cook of Dallas.

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