Wray Nathan Haydock, III, 79, son of Wray Nathan Jr. and Elma Ruth Haydock, died November 24, 2014, at home surrounded by his loving family following a two-year battle with cancer.
Anyone who knew him will remember his off-color sense of humor and his laugh that could fill a room and burst eardrums. He adored the San Francisco Giants and was always a loyal fan even when pitching failed or fielding errors mounted. The team’s dramatic journey through the 2014 playoffs and World Series provided a special connection to his family in his last months.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nancy Stewart Haydock; son and daughter-in-law, Darin Wray Haydock and Eileen Kerr; daughter and partner, Dana Nicole Haydock and Tom Sweetland; two granddaughters, Frances Abigail Kerr and Morgan Wray Kerr Haydock; a niece, Samantha Stewart; brother-in-law, Robert Miles Stewart; sister-in-law and husband, Meryl and Roger Sundove. He also leaves behind two dogs, Scruffy and Shaggy, and two cats, Smokey and Pinky.
Wray devoted his life to the education of young people, becoming an elementary school teacher and eventually an elementary and junior high school principal. He opened the first year-round school in Turlock and patiently advised other school districts about year-round scheduling. A loyal leader, his office staff could count on him to be fair, but expect the highest standards. He often picked up a box of sweets from Olde Tyme Pastries to celebrate the end of the work week.
In retirement he remained dedicated to education, volunteering in his wife, Nancy’s, kindergarten classroom. He helped her band monarch butterflies, which she used to teach about lifecycles and habitats, so scientists could track their migration patterns. When she retired and became a volunteer at a wildlife rescue center, he became her assistant during wildlife education presentations. They frequently drove their little red Subaru loaded with cages of crows, owls, hawks, snakes and sometimes a skunk throughout the Central Valley and Foothills, educating schoolchildren and civic groups about our region’s wildlife.
He was a fierce proponent of the freedom of speech and as an administrator often fought against requests to ban books from his school library, but never before reading the book in question and considering the other person’s point of view.
He was a member of the Stanislaus County Mental Health Advisory Board for 20 years from 1979 to 1999. He served on the City of Turlock Parks and Recreation Commission and as chairman of the Turlock Youth Soccer Association.
A US Navy veteran of the Korean War, he served as an electronics technician third class and was fond of telling stories from his days at sea in the Pacific. His service allowed him to attend college on the GI Bill, and he was the first in his family to go to college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in school administration from Fresno State University. He instilled in his students and children the value of education and critical thinking.
In the summers during college he worked as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a lifelong railroad man. His love of trains endured throughout his life.
He liked to golf and was part of the sunrise crew at Turlock Country Club for many years. In his younger years, he could be found skiing or tobogganing in Pinecrest, Ca., where he and his wife team taught – she kindergarten through 3rd grade and he 4th through 6th grades – at the two-room Pinecrest Elementary School. He loved to read, from biographies to historical fiction, and he always had his Kindle handy.
A remembrance will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to The Nature Conservancy via www.nature.org.