Lt. Col. Wilbur Ray Dudley, USAF retired Profile Photo
1930 Lt. Col. Wilbur Ray Dudley, USAF retired 2024

Lt. Col. Wilbur Ray Dudley, USAF retired

December 6, 1930 — April 29, 2024

Bastrop

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Wilbur R. "Ray" Dudley, aged 93, peacefully passed away on April 29th in Bastrop, Texas. He leaves behind a legacy of courage and dedication that will forever be cherished. Ray Dudley was born December 6th, 1930, on a farm in Ellis County, Oklahoma. He defied the odds from the moment of his birth. He may have weighed only a little over 3 pounds when he was born, but he was destined for a life of extraordinary valor and service. Ray's journey began in January 1951 when he enlisted in the Air Force, driven by a profound desire to serve and a steadfast determination to carve his own path. Among the countless chapters of his military career, one mission stood as a testament to his bravery. On May 12th, 1966, amidst the turbulent skies near Hanoi, Ray Dudley found himself in the midst of a mission that would etch itself into the fabric of his memory for a lifetime. Flying F-4s, Ray and his comrades were tasked with escorting an EMC aircraft, a B66, stationed approximately 105 miles northwest of Hanoi. Radio silence shrouded their communication, a silent shield against prying ears. As they navigated the airspace, Ray's keen eyes spotted the ominous silhouette of five MiGs approaching from air 1.5 position. With precision born of experience, he broke radio silence to warn the B66 of the impending threat. The MiGs darted with predatory intent, splitting into pairs, two veering menacingly toward the vulnerable B66. Despite the odds stacked against them, Ray's leadership and quick thinking guided the engagement. As the MiGs closed in, he shed his external tanks, unleashing the full throttle of his aircraft, hurtling towards the enemy at 1.3 MACH. With nerves of steel, he locked onto his targets, firing heat-seeking missiles with deadly accuracy. Ray's missiles found their marks, downing the aggressors with precision. The B66, spared from the jaws of destruction, bore witness to Ray's valorous deeds. His heroic actions not only saved lives but also earned him the prestigious Silver Star. Upon his return to Danang AFB, Vietnam, Ray was greeted with a hero's welcome, a testament to his unwavering commitment to duty and his comrades. His remarkable tale, a testament to his courage under fire, stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who serve. His selfless acts of bravery and dedication to duty will forever be remembered, a tribute to a life lived with honor and valor. Throughout his twenty-two years of service, Ray's valor earned him four Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, and a total of 27 other awards and decorations. Beyond his military achievements, Ray was a dedicated member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), where he held esteemed positions and garnered numerous accolades, showcasing his unwavering commitment to his fellow veterans. Ray Dudley's life epitomized service, bravery, and an unyielding dedication to his country and comrades. As we fondly remember his 93 years of life, let us celebrate his remarkable accomplishments and the profound impact he had on all who knew him. Ray will be dearly missed, but his legacy of courage will continue to inspire generations to come.

Ray is survived by his daughter, Lisa R. Mileham, her husband Tony Mileham, his son, Phillip Wayne Dudley, and his partner Denny Garbuio, 3- Niece's Patricia Ann, Melinda, and Kathy, along with a large extended family, including stepchildren Dean, Donya, Danny, Darryl, and Don, adopted children Mary and Tony, and many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sons Norman R. Dudley and Troy A. Dudley, and his wife Charlotte Dudley.

May Ray Dudley rest in peace, knowing that his indomitable spirit will live on in the hearts of those he touched.

Visitation will be from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and the Rosary will begin at 7:00pm on Monday, May 6, 2024 at Marrs Jones Newby Funeral Home. 

Funeral Mass will be at 11:00am on Tuesday, May, 7, 2024 at the Ascension Catholic Church followed by Military Honors and graveside services at Fairview Cemetery.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, May 6, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Marrs-Jones-Newby Funeral Home

505 Old Austin Hwy, Bastrop, TX 78602

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Monday, May 6, 2024

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

Marrs-Jones-Newby Funeral Home

505 Old Austin Hwy, Bastrop, TX 78602

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Military Honors and Graveside Service

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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