Those of you who have been following AramcoExPats.com have most likely heard of Ray and Sheila Stevens. They have been an integral part of the success of AramcoExPats.com, providing hundreds of photographs and sharing many memories of their time with Aramco. It is this type of sharing that makes AramcoExPats.com a friendly and familiar source of news for readers around the world.
Recently we learned that Ray is in the hospital. He has been fighting cancer for some time and was undergoing another round of chemotherapy when a sudden seizure left him hospitalized. Sheila, their son Chris, and daughter Brandi are already at or en route to the hospital to stand by Ray. The doctors have informed the family that Ray now has cancer in his brain.
A while ago, several of Ray’s friends decided to make wrist bands representing “Pray for Ray” in a “Bud Light blue” – a fond color of Ray’s. The bands were seen at the recent Tucson “Hafla” reunion. Ray’s love of life and dedication to his family and friends have made him a favorite of those who know him. We all hope that prayers for Ray will see him through this battle and bring comfort to his family.
Cards and letters of encouragement can be sent to: 16711 Palisades Point, Houston, Texas 77059.
Ray and Sheila have spent the last year making the most of each day. They have made it a priority to spend time with their family and friends and have traveled to many destinations seeking new adventures. Sheila and Ray have been together for 45 years and as one friend noted, since then they have been connected at the hip. Here is a biography of the Stevens’ written by Sheila. and edited by Ray (as he pointed out)…
“Sheila Marie Wright and I (Raymond Lee Stevens) met at church while in high school in Fredericktown, Missouri. She was the church pianist. I asked her to the Home Coming in October, 1967 and the rest is history. I was 16 years old and had only been driving a few months.
We went to the local Mineral Area Junior College at Flat River (now Park Hills). Sheila also attended Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau. We then drove the 1963 Chevy on to the University of Missouri at Rolla where Sheila worked until I graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering on May 13, 1973. I accepted a job with Texaco in Port Arthur, Texas and started work on May 21, 1973 at the age of 21. We lived and worked there 5 years and had two children, Chris and Brandi. Sheila completed her BS in Elementary Education at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
In 1978, we had the opportunity to interview and move (July) to Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia with Aramco as a loanee from Texaco. We went for 18 months or a couple years and stayed 7 years, until the turn-down in 1985. Texaco sent us to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We enjoyed five years there, but after the 3rd opportunity came to return to Saudi Aramco, we decided we would like to go back and went as Aramcons, transferring from Texaco. The hardest part was leaving our 16 year old son, Chris, behind to live with friends and finish high school. We arrived in Dhahran in December, 1990, just before the Gulf War. Brandi lived with us for 2.5 years and then went to high school at Baylor in Tennessee. We lived in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for 8 years.
We returned to Houston in December 1998 and began work for GDS Engineering at the Exxon Refinery in Baytown, Texas. I worked there until cancer treatments required I go home in April, 2010. I worked about 37 years and never missed many days.
I was diagnosed with bladder/kidney cancer in January, 2009 and had surgery in April, 2009. I have been battling lung cancer since late 2009. We always think about what we will do and the places we will go when we retire. With cancer, you realize how short life can be and you want to enjoy each day you have with family and friends.
In November 2011, our son Chris, wife Kim and kids, Sydney and Brody, were going to the new Disney Resort and Spa (Aulani) in Hawaii for Thanksgiving and invited us along. Okay!
In December 2011, we enjoyed 4 weeks in Houston with our daughter, Brandi who lives in London, England, and our new grandson, Moisis. We all journeyed west to Austin for the Aramco Christmas Party. At Christmas we all went east to Madisonville, Louisiana.
2012 finds me taking a chemo pill that seems to be slowing things down, so our calendar is filling up. The 2nd week in January, several Aramcon friends, Brixey, Waneka, Tugcu and Duet have timeshares in Vail, Colorado and invite us to join. I can’t ski anymore but sure enjoy the apres-ski.
The end of January found us in southeast Missouri for Sheila’s Mother’s 89th birthday; her niece’s baby shower and a visit with Byron and Kay Taylor. We always swing by Madisonville, Louisiana to see grandkids on return loops to midwest or southeast.
The first of March found us in Louisiana with grand-kids to celebrate Sheila’s birthday, then on to Panama City, Florida to meet up with Pat and Kathy Laabs for some sun and bird watching.
The end of March found us along with Tom and Julie Doody in west Texas in Big Bend and the Fort Davis area. In May we flew to London (with side trip to Ireland) to be with Brandi, Moisis and Barry. The summer found us on a cruise to Alaska with the Brixeys’.
(Signed) Sheila and Ray moving on!”