Retired Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Simms Raley, (81), of Fulshear, Texas, peacefully passed away on September 20, 2021, after suffering a stroke.
Tom was born on May 12, 1940 to parents Cullen T. and Elna (Peggy) Raley in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Following his father’s placement to Lawton, Oklahoma as an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman, Tom graduated from Lawton High School in 1958, where he set the state record for broad jump. He placed first in the National Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Junior Olympics finals. In addition, he won the Outstanding Award for Athletics and Academics, plus earned his Eagle Scout Award that same year. Though he received an appointment to West Point, Tom decided to follow his father’s wishes and accepted a full athletic scholarship in track and football to Oklahoma University. While there, he earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 1962, then went on to earn his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Colorado in 1972.
After graduating from OU, he commissioned in the Army where he served two tours in Vietnam, one tour in Korea, and one tour in Germany. His tours earned him several awards, including three bronze stars for his heroic actions and commands in a combat environment and The Legion of Merit for his later accomplishments while serving in the Pentagon, equating to a savings of eight billion tax payer’s dollars in 1982. After 20 years of service, Tom’s military career came to an honorable close, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in October 1982.
Upon his military retirement, he entered the corporate world as Vice President of Marketing, for a tactical night vision company, giving him the opportunity to travel around the world. He went on to work for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor, retiring in 2006. Tom’s love of life and competitive nature was seen in all he set out to accomplish, including fishing, working out, and golfing. Winning multiple golf tournaments in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Washington DC, one such accomplishment, was a 130-yard hole in one in 2010. His hobbies included watching/trading on the stock market daily, teaching math and dance to his granddaughter and dancing with his greatest dance partner and loving wife, Linda.
Tom married in December 1962 having one child. He later met the love of his life, Linda R. Raley at his 45th high school reunion and married in June of 2006. Soon after becoming known as “TaTom” to his acquired family, especially his granddaughter, Karsen.
He is survived by his wife, Linda (LaLa), sister, Patricia Raley Welch, sister-in-law, Delora Sanford, brother in laws Ron Yoder (Sherrill), Darwin Yoder, bonus children Kristi R Council and Chip Rice (Stephanie), grandchildren, Radd Rotello (Tawny), Karsen Council, Dillon Rice, Griffin Rice (Kelli), Will Rice, and great grandchildren Liam and Ava Rotello. He is also survived by his nieces Kim Hudson Brown, Laural Bodin (Tyler), Ginger Welch and many other nieces, great nieces, nephews and close friends who will miss him dearly. Tom is predeceased by his father, Cullen Raley, Mother, Peggy Raley, brother in laws, George Sanford and Dale Welch, and sister-in-law, Marsha Mattson.
Although Tom was a highly decorated officer, he often said “I’m just a simple soldier who loves my Country and my Family.” Tom, you will be missed beyond measure.
A memorial service, with full military honors, will be held at 11:00 am, October 16, 2021 at the chapel of Davis-Greenlawn Chapel and Funeral Home, 3900 B F Terry Blvd, Rosenberg, Texas 77471. A celebration of life will follow at Lomonte’s Italian Restaurant, 815 Plantation Drive #180, Richmond, Texas 77406.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in the name of Thomas S. Raley to the Gary Sinise Foundation, honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders and their families, garysinisefoundation.org.
We wish to express special recognition to Loretta, Delora (Babe) Sanford, Kim Hudson Brown and Adriana Otalora-Acosta for their untiring, caring, and endless support throughout this difficult time. We would also like to recognize Susan Wells and Tom and Emily Wells for their guidance, support and patience during these last months. A very special place in our hearts for Loretta, for introducing Tom and Linda, and especially to Sharon and Bill Stamps for the many OU games, golf tournaments and Oklahoma weekends, we will always cherish these beautiful memories. You have all helped to make it bearable in enabling Tom’s family and Tom to prepare for his transition to Heaven.
Tributes and words of condolence may be left for the family at www.davisgreenlawnfh.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Davis-Greenlawn Funeral Home, 3900 B.F. Terry Blvd., Rosenberg, Texas 77471, Phone: 281-341-8800.