Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Rayford Irby

February 9, 1922 ~ April 18, 2017

Rayford E. Irby passed away on April 17, 2017 at Parkhaven Retirement and Assisted Living Community in Manhattan, Montana. He was born on February 9, 1922 to Hill Gordon and Lorena Irby in the East Texas lumber mill town of Browndell.  He attended grammar school in Call, Texas and graduated from high school in Kirbyville, Texas in 1941. Rayford enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as a mechanic on B-24 bombers until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He met Marilyn Ruth Spencer in Fort Worth, Texas in 1945. They married in October 1945 and celebrated their seventy-first anniversary in October 2016. Rayford worked for the General Motors parts division from 1946 to 1982 in the Dallas - Fort Worth area. He and Marilyn moved to Bozeman, Montana in 2000.

Throughout his life, Rayford was involved in church activities. He was one of the founders of Kirkwood Methodist Church in Irving, Texas and joined the Bozeman United Methodist Church when he moved to Bozeman. He enjoyed fishing, wood working, and jewelry crafting before and after retiring. Most of all, he enjoyed people. Marilyn and Rayford traveled extensively in the United States, and Rayford never failed to strike up conversations with anyone he met along the way.   

Rayford is survived by his wife, son Lynn, daughter-in-law Kathleen, two grand-children, two great-grand-children, and dozens of nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and two sisters.

He was a warm, compassionate man with an outgoing personality and a great sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by his family and hundreds of people he encountered throughout his long life. 

Visitation will be held Monday, April 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  Funeral Services will be at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 25 at Dokken-Nelson, followed by interment at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Memorials in Rayford’s name may be made to Bozeman Health Foundation (memo line: Hospice), 931 Highland Blvd, Ste 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.