Billy Ray Jones was called home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on March 15, 2017. Billy Ray will be lying in state at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home in Midland on Sunday, March 19, 2017 beginning at 1 p.m., with a formal visitation from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A graveside service will be held at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 20, 2017. There will be a memorial service held in Brownwood at First Baptist Church on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2 p.m.

Billy Ray Jones was born on May 28, 1933 in Eldorado to John R. and Mattie Lea Jones. He graduated from Eldorado High School in 1950. After graduating, he attended Howard Payne College in Brownwood on an athletic scholarship. He started on the football team for four years earning all-conference honors and honorable mention on the All-Texas College Team. During these years, he met the love of his life, Joetta, and they were married on June 5, 1954 after graduating from college.

While attending college, he was in the Navy Reserve. Upon graduation from college, he attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island receiving a commission of Ensign in the United States Navy. While on active duty, he was assigned to the National Security Agency in Arlington, Virginia. Upon release from active duty in 1956, he remained in the Navy Reserve. He retired from the Navy Reserve with the rank of Commander in 1993.

He began working for Phillips Petroleum Company in 1956. He worked in the Odessa area for 24 years with Natural Gasoline, Exploration and Production, and Gas and Gas Liquids Departments. In 1980, he transferred to the Houston area office, living in Sugar Land. In 1983, he moved to Smithville where a new office opened in Warda. His last two positions with Phillips Petroleum Company were Regional Laboratory Supervisor and Project Specialist. He retired from Phillips in 1988 after 32 years of service.

In 1966, Billy Ray was ordained as a deacon by Crescent Park Baptist Church in Odessa. He also served as a deacon at Belmont Baptist Church in Odessa, First Baptist Church in Smithville, East Side Baptist Church in Comanche, and First Baptist Church in Brownwood. Upon moving to Midland, Billy Ray and Joetta joined Crestview Baptist Church.

Known as “Papa” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he spent hours upon hours watching them in their various activities and loving every minute of it!

Billy Ray was preceded in death by his parents, John R. and Mattie Lea Jones of Eldorado; brother, John Lee and wife Charlene Jones of Fort Worth; and brother-in-law, Roger Sofge of Odessa.

He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Joetta, of Midland; sister, Esther Sofge of Odessa; daughter, Judy Hargrove and husband Bryan of Midland; son, Col (Ret) Larry Jones and wife Cristi of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He also leaves behind grandchildren, Crista Nickell and husband Michael of Midland; Cody Hargrove of Midland; Lt. Kyle Jones and wife Amy of Kadena Air Base, Japan; Kreg Jones and wife Kayla of Watkins, Colorado; Cadet Clark Jones of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Kara Jones of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and great-grandchildren, Casen and Kynlee Nickell of Midland, and Charlotte and Jordan Jones of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

The family would like to thank Dr. Vogel and his staff and the Midland Memorial Hospital staff for their love, care and concern.

Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com.