Raymond (Ray) C. Wockley
I am the second generation of three to graduate with a high school diploma from an Oxon Hill High School. My mother, Irma Taylor Wockley, started when the Oxon Hill Consolidated School (grades 1-11) was built, circa 1925, and graduated in 1931 with nine (9) other students. One of the graduates was John F. Kirby’s (‘59) uncle and another, Anna Talbert, would become the mother of Anna (’57) and Charles (’58) Mistretta. I graduated from Oxon Hill High School, which started out as Oxon Hill Junior Senior High School, with 157 other students in the Class of 1959. The third generation, my son, Bryan Granger Wockley (‘90 Science & Technology) and daughter, Melissa Dayle Wockley-Farrell (’93 Science & Technology) graduated from the Oxon Hill High School, which opened in 1960. The class of 1990 had 385 graduates, and the class of 1993 had 360.
In the time since graduating from OHHS, I attended Western Maryland College, graduating in 1963 with a B.A. in science and the University of Delaware, graduating in 1968 with a M.A. degree from the statistics, computer and marine biology departments. Beginning in 1964, I spent 2 years as an Army Infantry Officer. Following seven months training at Fort Benning, GA, I began a tour on the DMZ in Korea as a rifle platoon leader and company commander. I stayed with the military while a civilian, going to various schools (Command & General Staff College, 1973; Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1980; etc.) with assignments mostly at staff positions in the Pentagon in preparation for deployment of the military in case of a national foreign instigated emergency. I retired twice from the Army, the second time after receiving a special delivery request to help with the ramp up deployment of the initial troops for the First Gulf War, and subsequently asked to act as an escort officer for a UN exchange group from Estonia with the Pentagon. I became interested in real estate in 1969 and soon after owned and operated my own business, working as a real estate appraiser and investor, adjusting from time to time to accommodate changes in the market.
My first travel abroad was in 1963 when my college roommate and I spent two months seeing the sights in Europe after graduating. As a family, we have traveled westward to Australia, and eastward to Russia, Austria and Italy. In recent years, my wife Marilyn and I, as only children, have spent large amounts of time taking care of our parents, helping our children, and spending time in our second home on the beach North of Bethany Beach, DE.
When I look back on the past 50 years, the things that give me the happiest thoughts are my wife of 42+ years waited for me through a three-year engagement during which I was gone for almost two years. Together, we had two children whom I enjoyed raising through the joys and pains of their passage from childhood to adulthood. I also appreciate the many friends and acquaintances I have made in school, the military, community and business.
Ever since my earliest jobs acquainted me with various aspects of the construction business, I have enjoyed building things – my largest project having been significant hands on design and work when our house in Delaware was being built. Over the years, I have tackled remodeling work and have enjoyed spending time on a variety of woodworking projects. I also like to work with computers and conquer the inevitable challenges and obstacles that seem to accompany the age of technology. Long-past experiences as waiter have brought about a love of good food, and a night at a good restaurant is always a delight. On warm, sunny (or at least not rainy) days, I may be found in the role of farmer- mowing, tilling and planting my parents’ land in Friendly that has been in our family for over a hundred years.
In these past 50 years, I have taken pride in my family’s (www.WockleyFamily.com)accomplishments. My wife retired last year after spending twenty-five years as a teacher and administrator at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, MD helping high school students develop into productive members of our community and country. My son, Bryan, a Middlebury College and Harvard graduate, with his wife Sarah and two young sons, is serving as a Foreign Service Officer staffing our embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. In 2010, his assignment will take him and his family to Moscow. My daughter, Melissa, a Bucknell College and University of Massachusetts graduate, lives in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts with her husband Scott and their two-year old son. Both are teachers and involved in the local community where Scott also serves as the Chief of Police for the town of New Marlborough.
It is my challenge to the Oxon Hill High School Class of 1959 to come forward with a report of their passage through the past 50 years. We, as the last class to graduate from the Oxon Hill Junior Senior High School, experienced a time of transition for Prince George’s County, Maryland, and it is right for us to leave our mark for the future.
The 50 years since high school has been a trip. It has had it ups and downs, its lows and highs, its joys and sorrows, but all of it has been mine. I reflect on these memories all the time, they are mine and they will be mine (me) until ……..