The world lost an unforgettable person with the passing of William Joseph Pray, a beloved grandfather, father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend on August 31, 2020.
The start of Bill’s life would define how he lived the rest of his life – worldly.
Born in Glen Cove, New York, on March 30, 1946, Bill spent his formative years in The Netherlands and Greece due to his father’s appointments in the U.S. Foreign Service. Bill would share stories and customs of growing up in these countries with his children and continued to speak Dutch with family and friends throughout his life.
With his father’s untimely death in 1960, Bill, his mother, and two siblings, Phyllis and Charlie, returned stateside where Bill would finish high school in Washington, D. C. and graduated from George Washington University. He later earned his master’s degree from the University of Houston.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969 where he attended Officer Candidate School (OCS). Upon graduation as a captain, he went to Vietnam and served his country. He would spend part of the next decade traveling and working in Vietnam and Iran.
In 1977, he began his career at Saudi Aramco which would take him to Saudi Arabia to live two different times throughout his career and gave him an opportunity to benefit the Houston community in his role in the public affairs department. He also made many friends throughout his career and around the world that are friends to this day. He retired in 2004.
In 1978, he married his wife Diane in Norwalk, Connecticut. They embarked on more exciting adventures together including living in Saudi Arabia twice and traveling to many other destinations. They were the true essence of what it means to be a couple – especially at the very end. Their love and dedication to each other through raising children; holding successful careers; building a beautiful home; living abroad; retiring; and traveling showed their children what love and hard work can achieve. He was also a Master Mason in good standing with the Grand Lodge of Texas Gray No. 329.
Bill never met a stranger and always knew the right thing to say in any situation – and it helped him make friends all around the world. Bill was well-known for his incredible humor, infectious laugh, and on-time delivery of jokes. His voracious reading made him knowledgeable on many topics, and interesting conversations with him will be deeply missed.
While he achieved many accolades; supported many organizations; hosted foreign dignitaries, celebrities, and a U.S. President; and had many other interesting experiences throughout his life, his “pride and joy” were his children and later on, his grandchildren. He shared his unique life and cultural experiences with them and ensured their eyes were open to the diverse world around them.
Bill is preceded in death by his father, Charles, mother, Mary, and brother, Charles. He is survived by his wife, Diane, his children Tru, Heather Russell (Brian), and Lauren. He is also survived by his two granddaughters, Alice and Emily Russell; his sister, Phyllis; his beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins, and his many friends that have been of great support throughout his life and three-year battle with cancer.
The Pray Family would also like to thank their family, friends, and neighbors for their continued support and prayers.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Bill was an ardent supporter of the welfare of animals and in lieu of flowers, the Pray Family requests donations to BARC Animal Shelter (www.houstontx.gov/barc/donate_landingpage.html), Houston Humane Society (www.houstonhumane.org), or to the charity of your choice.
To send flowers to William's family, please visit our floral store.