Mrs. C.L. Ray, the former Janet Watson, helps Justice C.L. Ray into his judicial robes during his swearing-in ceremony on November 25, 1980.

Supreme Court of Texas Retired Associate Justice C.L. Ray Jr., 87, died December 9, 2018, in Lansing, Michigan, per a Supreme Court news release. He died under hospice care in the late stages of prostate cancer.

Ray was elected to the Supreme Court in 1980 and retired from the court in 1990. At that time, he returned to law practice in Austin, concentrating on appeals, oil and gas, and personal injury law.

“C.L. Ray served the court with distinction,” Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht said in a news release. “He was a country lawyer who supported simplified procedure that overcame ‘gotcha’ traps to be fair and to resolve legal disputes on their merits. His memory and contributions to Texas jurisprudence will endure.”

Ray served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and enlisted in the Reserve after the war, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1987. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.

Ray practiced law in Marshall until being elected Harrison County judge in 1959, serving two years before returning to private practice. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1966 and served until 1970. Ray was elected to the 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana in 1970 and served there until he was elected to the Supreme Court.

To read the Supreme Court’s news release, go to