Cmdr. Edward Clay Rawley, United States Coast Guard (Retired), passed away peacefully Saturday, January 6, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his beloved wife, Eleanor Sue Rawley, His children Sandra Gail (Gary) and Steven Edward (Bonnie), seven grandchildren: Travis, Ryan, Shannon, Lindsey, Holly, Taylor, and Parker, and eight great grandchildren: Reese, Tanner, Thomas, Evelyn, Olivia, Logan, Violet, and Tucker. He is preceded in death by his parents, his dear friend James Harvey, and his oldest daughter Susan Kay.
Ed was born January 20, 1933 in Houston, to Marvin and Eura Mae Rawley. He grew up spending his summers at the family farm in Lometa, TX and was raised by his maternal aunts and uncles in the Houston Heights. He attended Reagan High School (Class of 1951) where he participated in the band and was the Drum Major, and St. Marks United Methodist Church MYF where he met his future bride, Sue Herbert. After High School, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard and was stationed at Headquarters in Norfolk, VA. During his time in Norfolk, he continued to correspond with Sue and eventually came home to marry her on December 26, 1953.
After their wedding, they went back to Norfolk together where the welcomed their first child, Susan Kay on November 26, 1954. When his active duty was completed, Ed transferred to Active Reserve. He, Sue, and baby Susan headed home to Houston.
Once back in Houston, he enrolled in South Texas Junior College and worked various positions while in school. On April 8, 1957 their second daughter, Sandra Gail, was born. Later that year He graduated Valedictorian from South Texas Junior College and transferred to The University of Houston. He graduated from The University of Houston, in 1959, with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics. He applied for and received his United States Coast Guard Officer’s Commission in 1961 and began flight training shortly after. He worked as a pilot for the United States Coast Guard Reserve and also for Natural Gas Pipeline Company. On September 7, 1964 their third, and final, child Steven Edward was born.
In 1970, Ed moved the family to Victoria, TX and began flying as a corporate pilot for the Braman/O’Connor families. He also owned and operated Ed’s Dairy Burger, a favorite hangout for the Victoria High School students.
In 1973, Ed and family moved back to Houston. Ed began his career as a Marine and Aviation Surveyor and Pilot. He was the head of the Houston division for the Insurance Company of North America for 10 years and moved to Hargrove Insurance as Head of the Marine Division and Pilot in 1983. In 1985, Ed was a passenger in a plane crash that left him disabled. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ed was the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Reserve Unit at the Port of Houston and retired as a Commander in 1992. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
After retirement, Ed found great pleasure in hanging out with other aviation enthusiasts at the West Houston Airport. This is where he met Orville Gaither. Orville eventually offered Ed some part-time work around his Oil and Gas Company, Gaither Petroleum Corporation. Ultimately Ed was promoted to Fleet Manager and Pilot. Ed worked for Gaither Petroleum for 16 years between 2001 and 2017.
Ed had many friendships, but none were quite as special as the one with his friend James (Jimmy) Harvey. Ed and Jimmy were friends since Junior High School and spoke daily, sometimes multiple times a day, throughout their friendship. They remained friends until Jimmy’s death in 2014.
Ed was a Certified Flight Instructor and taught many students to fly, including his son and grandson Taylor. He was a Mason at Waltrip Lodge, a member of the Quiet Birdmen, member of Bear Creek United Methodist Church, a member of the Reserve Officers Association, a member of the National Rifle Association, and participated regularly in activities with his classmates from Reagan High School. He was a devoted family man and loved being around all the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He especially loved large family gatherings and looked forward to each birthday and holiday. He will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Shriner’s Hospital for Children: https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc