Paul Harland Wray, 73, passed away on February 20, 2019 at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 6, at Reiman Gardens in Ames.
Paul was born on February 11, 1946 in Austin, Minnesota to Willard and Grace Wray. At the age of seven, his family moved to a dairy farm in Bloomfield, Iowa. Paul attended a one-room schoolhouse through eighth grade. Following graduation from Davis County Community High School he attended Iowa State University, receiving a B.S. in Forest Management in 1968. He later served in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Vietnam. Returning to Iowa State, he completed a Ph.D. in Forest Biology and then accepted a teaching position at Virginia Tech. He returned to Iowa State in 1975 as a faculty member in Forestry Extension, a position he held until he retired in 2006.
Paul married Joyce Ann Meis on August 31, 1974. In their 44 years together, they raised two children, were blessed with six grandchildren, and owned and operated the J&J Christmas Tree Farm. Paul loved the simple things in life. He enjoyed baking, fishing, gardening, traveling, watching his beloved Cyclones, and making wonderful memories with his family and friends. He was the scorekeeper of every card game and loved teaching new games to others. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Joyce; their children, Jason (Jessica) Wray and Jessica (Justin) Schaack; his treasured grandchildren, Addison, Kelsey, and Dillon Wray, and Alena, Lauren, and Caleb Schaack; brother Willard (Pat) Wray; brothers- and sisters-in-law Carol and Richard Ellington, Kim and Dave Brandon, Lynette and Roger Meis; Mary and Fred Cerwick, Patti and Steve Meis, and Karen and Tim Pottebaum; and many nieces, nephews, and beloved friends.
The family will also remember Paul with a tree planted on the Iowa State Campus. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees in Memory, the Iowa Arboretum, or a charity of your choice.