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Obituary for John Raley, Jr.

Ponca City Now - April 8, 2018 11:55 am

John Wesley Raley, Jr.

May 23, 1932 – April 6, 2018

John Wesley Raley Jr. was born May 23, 1932. He was the son of Dr. John Wesley and Helen Thames Raley. In 1934, the family moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma where Dr. Raley was elected president of Oklahoma Baptist University. John entered the Shawnee public school system. While there, he was elected president of Student Council and graduated in 1950.

After high school, he enrolled at Oklahoma Baptist University and majored in History and English Literature. He participated in intramural sports and was elected president of the Student Government Association. In December of 1950, he enlisted in the U.S Navy Reserve and immediately filed application for Reserve Officers Training. In December of 1951, he was called to active duty with the Navy and reported for Boot Camp Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. In June of that year, he was ordered to Navy officer training candidate school in Long Beach, California.

In May of 1954, he received his degree directly from his father, a unique experience for a father and son. An Ensign in the U.S. Navy he was ordered to the USS Macon (CA – 132) a heavy cruiser deployed with the Sixth Fleet. John was directed to serve as the Five Inch Battery Officer of the Gunnery Department, and stood watches on the bridge as officer of the deck when the ship was underway.

Upon completion of active duty, he remained in the Navy Reserve for a combined period of active and reserve for thirty-three years. He served as commanding officer in three Naval reserve units in Shawnee, Oklahoma City, and Stillwater. During annual active-duty, he reported aboard twenty separate ships, mostly destroyer types, off the West Coast. He participated in two lecture and research conferences in the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1981 and 1983, he was directed to participate in the Republic of Korea and United States joint mobilization exercises in South Korea.

Following active-duty, he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, seeking a jurist doctorate degree. During his senior year in law school, he was elected president of the student bar association, and as such welcomed to the campus former president Harry Truman.

In 1961, he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, specializing jury trials and criminal cases. In 1969, following eight years as a federal prosecutor, he joined the Northcutt Law Firm in Ponca City.

John was actively involved in civic, charitable, and church related activities. For many years, he taught the Disciples Adult Class at the First Baptist Church and also served as a Deacon.

In 1980, John was elected Mayor of Ponca City and later was appointed Associate Municipal Judge. He was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for patriotic service. He was also awarded the prestigious order of the Silver Beaver by the Will Rogers Council, Boy Scouts of America. John was elected president of the Kay County Bar Association, and also served a three-year term of the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

In 1991, he was appointed by president George H.W. Bush to serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. In 1993, John was reappointed by president Bill Clinton, the only U.S. Attorney of 93 nationally to be reappointed.

During his tour of duty as U.S. Attorney, he was presented an award by Atty. Gen. Janet Reno for outstanding service for the Department of Justice.

In August 1979, John retired from the Department of Justice and returned to the Northcutt Law Firm in Ponca City, specializing in trial practice.

He was elected to Fellowship in the American College of trial lawyers.

His Alma Mater, Oklahoma Baptist University, awarded him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities.

He is the author of the book, Beyond the Gate, The Journey of an Oklahoma Boy, published by Oklahoma Heritage Association.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Caroline Raley; two sons, John Wesley Raley III and his wife Kelly, trial lawyer of Houston, Texas and Robert Thames Raley and his wife Dara, Assistant U.S. Attorney of Tulsa, Oklahoma; three grandchildren, Katherine Elise Raley of Washington D.C., William Thomas Raley of Houston, Texas, James Wesley Raley of Houston, Texas; sister, Helen Raley Weathers of College Station, Texas; niece, Sandra Nash Delk of College Station, Texas; and stepdaughters, Terry Adams and Rhonda K. Brown of Cleveland, Oklahoma. He is also survived by a number of cousins, nieces, and nephews.

The celebration of his life will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the First Baptist Church with Pastor Michael Taylor officiating. Following his celebration, the family will take him to his final resting place in Shawnee at Resthaven Cemetery.

Source: Trout Funeral Home