Rayford was a commerce Chapter and TASO Football member for more than 30 years.
Harwell, beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, and Terrell icon
passed away peacefully December 6, 2015 surrounded by his family.
Rayford was born September 11, 1943 in Terrell to Jim and Lola
(Stephens) Harwell, both of whom preceded him in death along with his
brother, Dennis Harwell and wife, Libby; sister-in-law, Patsy
Harwell, brothers-in-law, Lumpy Taylor, David Cox, Oscar Taylor, and
Yonne Lyon; parents-in-law, Jim and Grace Cunningham Taylor; and
nephew, Jason Taylor.
Growing up in Terrell, Rayford was a person known for always helping anyone who needed it and he was a member of the "Magnificent Seven" in high school. After graduating from Terrell High School in 1962, Rayford (also known as Hereford) worked for Dale and Marie Witherspoon at the Exxon from 1964 to 1979 when he purchased the station and operated it with his family. In 1995, he moved the station to its Moore Ave. location where it is still located today in the heart of the town he loved so much. Even after formally retiring from the station in 2005 and then going on to work for the City of Terrell, Rayford kept tools in the street sweeper so he could always help others who may need a quick car or tire repair. In his lifetime, he played and refereed football for over 30 years as well as for baseball and softball for over 35 years and served on the Park Board for over 25 years. Rayford was recognized by the City of Terrell for his dedication to TARA and so many other civic organizations with ceremonies commemorating his tireless service during "Rayford Harwell Week". His appearances as Santa Claus for over three decades at both family and civic gatherings brought smiles to everyone's face. Watching Shirley bowl was a favorite activity of his and spending time with Cary at any activity. Rayford gave so much of his time to Terrell in every imaginable way. While he wasn't a man to brag or tell others of his accomplishments, he was nevertheless honored by several city and civic organizations for his dedication and his commitment to serve. He was selected as Citizen of the Year by the Rotary club and was the very first "Employee of the Month" selected, a program began by the Terrell Chamber to recognize city employees and their contributions and in 2006, Rayford was inducted to the Tiger Hall of Fame. He loved to rebuild old tractors and was a faithful member of the Terrell Tractor Club. He spent time enjoying eating at Dairy Queen and cleaning the car wash for Gail Williams and generally, just being available for anyone and everyone. His immeasurable knowledge of Terrell and the people, places and events that made Terrell what it is made conversations with Rayford a true learning experience every time. He was, and always will be, a Terrell treasure and he was truly a "one of a kind". The amount of goodness a person has to offer can never be measured but one only has to look at the scores of lives touched by Rayford to know that, actually, one person can make a difference to so many. Because of that difference, Rayford will never be forgotten and his legacy will always be remembered.
Rayford is survived by his devoted wife, Shirley, of Terrell; son, Cary Harwell of Terrell; brothers: James Harwell of Terrell, Joe Harwell and wife Claudette, of Greenville, Gary Harwell and wife, Linda of Van; sister, Nadine Day and husband Jerrell of Terrell; brother, Jerry Clower and wife Barbara of Wills Point; brother-in-law, George Taylor and wife, Anne of Elmo; sisters-in-law, Beverly Taylor of Rowlett, Dorothy Crow of Kaufman, Leona Harwell of Garland, Betty Gutierrez and husband, Leonard of Mineola; Donna Harwood of Kaufman, Charlotte Corley of Longview; as well as several nieces, nephews, extended family and a host of friends who will never forget him and his smile with his trademark mustache.
A celebration of life will be held at 2:00pm, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 at First Baptist Church in Terrell. In remembrance of the legacy and love Rayford had for Terrell, memorials may be made to:
Terrell Tiger Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund
PO Box 1070, Terrell, Texas, 75160
ATTN: Mike Burt