Services for Felton Ray Eppler who left this earth for his eternal heavenly home early Monday morning, Aug. 12, 2019, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at Christ Community Church in Ardmore. Interment with military honors will follow in the afternoon at Oakwood Cemetery in Whitesboro, Texas.
Felton Ray Eppler was the first of seven children born to Hubert Benjamin and Viola Velva Grace Eppler on May 3, 1930, in Wewoka, Okla. His father was employed in the oil field which meant that the family moved wherever the work took them around towns in the Central Oklahoma area. With his father’s permission, at the age of 16, Ray left his family in Perry, Okla., to join the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp. serving in San Antonio, Biloxi, Miss., Shreveport, La., and Yokota, Japan, serving in the Army of Occupation in 1947-1948 and receiving the Japan Occupation Medal. He was honorably discharged in July 1949. After his discharge, Ray joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and from 1949-1953 he served in the Korean War aboard the U.S.S. Pasig AW-3. In August 1953, he received an honorable discharge with the Korean War Medal.
Between those two tours of service, Ray returned home to Perry, where he completed his high school education and graduated from Perry High School with his younger brother, Tom in 1950.
Having been raised in the oil fields, Ray began his 40+ years’ career working throughout Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana for service companies including the Lane Wells Company, Western Company, Otis Engineering, Drilling Equipment Mfg. Co., B.J. Company, and owner/operator of Calco Oil Tools here in Ardmore with field offices in Seminole from which he retired. After retiring, he worked as an independent oil consultant and contract sales representative for Semco and later as VE Enterprises. Also during his retirement years, Ray, being and avid golfer decided to attend a golf repair school and later had a repair shop built in his backyard where he repaired clubs for many of his golfing buddies as well as making new friends along the way.
In 1971, at the age of 40 with two young sons, he moved from Louisiana to Whitesboro, where he married Paula Kay Walsh, a widow and mother of three young daughters. Four years later, Ray’s youngest brother died suddenly, and his oldest son Michael, joined the family as the third son. Ray’s occupation in the oil field led him to moving his family to Ardmore in 1973 where he and Paula have resided to date. All six children graduated from Plainview High School and went on to various careers. The youngest is a teacher at Plainview Middle School for the past 10+ years. Two of the boys made careers and retired from the military. One O.U. graduate with his own business in Oklahoma City, and two of the girls had careers in health care.
In 2014, Ray fell and broke his hip and was unable to walk on his own. That is when the VA Center here in Ardmore became his permanent home. For five years, 4 months, and 11 days. He was cared for by the excellent and trustworthy employees of the VA Center.
He is survived by his wife, Paula Kay of the home, three sons, Daniel Ray (Kat) Eppler, Darryl Craig Eppler, Michael David (Diana) Eppler, two daughters, Billie Kay Bartolomucci and Nancie Walsh (James) Rosson, and a special 4th daughter, Teri Foster. Also surviving are three siblings, a brother, Don E. (Kathryn) Eppler, two sisters, Pat Dorcy and Binnie Sue Stanislav, seven grandchildren, Daniel S. Eppler, Ashley Lundy, Andrew Eppler, Aaron Eppler, Perry Eppler, Joshua (Elizabeth) Bartolomucci, Kevin Phillips, three great-grandchildren, Elia, Ethan and Bennett Bartolomucci, and a host of nieces and nephews as well as extended family members.
Preceeding Ray in death were his parents, a brother, David Eppler, brother, Thomas Eppler, sister, Anna Lou Eppler Randall, a daughter, Leslie Gail Hilst, a son-in-law, Tony Walker, a granddaughter, Christine Lundy Savory, three brothers-in-law, Max Randall, Bill Dorcy, and Jerry Stanislav.
Serving as pallbearers will be nephews, Steve Eppler and Greg Piatt, grandsons, Joshua Bartolomucci and Daniel S. Eppler, and sons, Daniel R. Eppler and Darryl C. Eppler.
A time of visitation will be Friday evening 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Craddock Funeral Home, Ardmore. Online condolences may be made at craddockfuneralhome.com.