January 11, 1928 – April 1, 2017
Father. Friend. Artist. Athlete. Author. Grandfather. Teacher. Inventor. Coach.
On April 1st, 2017, the world lost a legend when Ray Pelfrey passed away at his home in Sparks, Nevada, from complications following hip surgery several months prior.
Born January 11, 1928, Ray grew up in Ohio and went to both Auburn and Eastern Kentucky Universities. Lettering in track, basketball and football, Ray made his presence known as an all-around star athlete. He was also a golden gloves boxer, ranked as one of the top amateurs in the state. In 1951, Ray was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, where he played Half Back, Punt Returner, Punter and stood out as a Wide Receiver. He also started as Wide Receiver for the Dallas Texans in 1952 and the New York Giants in 1953, where he played with hall of famer, Frank Gifford. Ray scored a total of 10 Touchdowns in his NFL career.
From 1954 until 1970, Ray lived in Mississippi and Ohio, where he married the love of his life, Edna Montez. Ray worked in a ship yard and as a teacher and coach, while raising his family. After his oldest son was killed on his 21st birthday by a drunk driver, Ray moved his family to Lake Tahoe, where he worked directly for Bill Harrah as the Director of Personnel at Harrah’s Casino. Being the teacher, inventor & entrepreneur that he was, Ray decided several years later to take his life in a different direction and started Professional Kicking Services, PKS.
Ray was the first person in football to truly study the kicking game and break it down to a science. The combination of his love to teach/coach, along with his knowledge of the kicking game quickly turned into what would be his business for the next 30 plus years. Between him and his son, Rob, they were running up to 50 kicking/punting camps a year, nationwide. People would fly from all over the country for a private lesson with the renowned coach. Not only was Ray an amazing coach, he was also an author and an inventor. Ray wrote several books about kicking and has many patents to his name; most famously his kicking shoes and leg lock bags. Ray played a vital role in making the kicking game what it is today and his legacy will hold strong with the countless number of kickers that he coached; from grade school and college to dozens of NFL standouts. Ray was also an artist, who loved to draw pictures of his family and paint lakes, trees and the wilderness.
To most, Ray was known as ‘Coach’, and he will always be remembered as an idol and a hero; But for the few of us who were fortunate to know him as ‘Dad’ or ‘Papa’, he is a Legend!
Ray is survived by his wife Edna Montez, daughters Kimberly Apocotos & Teresa Barone, son Rob Pelfrey and his wife Julie, sister Phyllis, 8 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Raymond Brandenburg.
May you find peace in the arms of the Angels that were there to welcome you! You will be loved and missed every minute of the day throughout eternity. Keep makin’ plays, drink lots of root beer,and may your chew stash be endless, your jokes remain sexually inappropriate, your heart stay pure gold and your soul be free! We love you, Dad. We love you, Papa. Good Bye, Coach – until we meet again.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Ray’s honor on June 24th. Contact Dusty Apocotos at Dsty7@hotmail.com for details.