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George "Raz " Autry
Jan 09, 1927-Apr 18, 2012
george raz autry
George "Raz" Autry

reposted from the NYT Letters to Editor

Perhaps obituaries should be written twice, each by a different writer who can offer a different angle on the same life. After all, every life has its highs and lows, moments of the heavenly and those of the mundane. Some lives soar and some become sidetracked. It is like watching an old movie and suddenly realizing that the actors have passed on, leaving a slice of themselves behind on a piece of celluloid. Is it who we were that mattered or what we did at a particular moment?
B N, NY.

George Raz Autry Obit




raz collage
Raz Autry: Lifelong Contributor to the State of North Carolina

(the following are remarks given by Representative Larry Kissell in the US House of Representatives March 20, 2012.)

Mr. KISSELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. George Raz Autry, Jr., a proud veteran, a defender of education and a dedicated, lifelong contributor to the great State of North Carolina.

Enlisting in the Marine Corps out of High School, Mr. Autry honorably served our country in World War II. Upon his return, he attended East Carolina Teachers College where he served as Student Body President. Raz married his wife Ireni Toumaras Autry in 1951.

Mr. Autry then moved to my home county of Montgomery County, North Carolina, and helped open East Montgomery High School, my alma mater. Mr. Autry found further opportunity in Hoke County in 1967, where he became Hoke High School Principal and later School Superintendent. He continues his life of service today in Hoke County as a peach farmer, author, columnist, speaker, auctioneer and respected community leader.

An ambassador for education in North Carolina for more than 45 years, Mr. Autry has served in a multitude of prominent and important roles in support of youth, farmers and our community as a whole. Mr. Autry’s impact on North Carolina will last for generations. His selfless service has inspired countless others, including myself. Mr. Autry has led through both example and instruction, and continues to serve as inspiration to all of us who know him. I was honored to nominate Mr. Autry for The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest order that can be bestowed in our State of North Carolina. Raz received that recognition recently, and he is certainly deserving of such a distinction.

I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and work of my friend, a mentor, and my former High School principal, Mr. Raz Autry. Let us thank him for his life of continued service to the future of our Nation.


This Man's Life Soared
brother raz george raz autry, superintendent, principal author, brother, friend....
Raz Autry: husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend., mentor...

Story written before George "Raz" passed away: Recently, I took a much dreaded trip back East to visit my brother. He is seriously ill with congestive heart failure. His condition is pretty ominous sounding but treatable. He is on medication and basically is on a very low sodium diet.

My brother looked awful mostly because he had lost so much weight. He knew me, we reminisced, but was weak. I became his caregiver for a couple of days- helping him get to the bathroom, in and out his wheelchair. Quite the experience.

As I sat beside his bed the better part of a couple of days, I had to think, "What has brought us to this point?" He's 85, always been incredibly robust. He has been the patriarch of our family, always there for all of us. He is a retired educator and farmer and loves it.

Our brother has done it all- a Marine on Guadalcanal, school teacher, principal, superintendent, a peach farmer, speaker, auctioneer and a successful author across genres. He is the challenge man. He has faced and met each one.

But, my brother is now sick. Health is a challenge that is out of his hands. Time to go? No, I don't think so. I had come to say goodbye but after spending time with him for a short time, I am thinking he can rebound-return to his once energetic self. More years with reasonable quality. I think so. God Bless My Brother Raz . jda


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Raz Autry Stories
A Road Trip With Raz
jda   Aug 22 2012
raz, corb, wallace
Raz, Corb, Wallace

Last March, I stayed a few days with Raz at his rehabilitation and nursing home, Open Arms. About the second day I was there he rallied, so all the brothers and my niece Donna came down to Raeford for a visit.

Read More

Raz and Moose
jda   Aug 20 2012

Raz came to visit me when I was stationed in Korea. He always loved the military and was proud of his time in both the Navy and the Marines. He would attend reunions of his old Marine Unit on Guadalcanal.

Read More

jda  August 13 2012
Raz Autry

My brother Raz died last April at the young age of 83. He was the greatest and we still miss him and are collecting Raz stories. He was a retired school superintendent and had transitioned to being a gentleman farmer. Here’s a Raz story:



7th Grade With Raz
raz college year book
raz college yearbook

When I was in the 7th Grade, my Mom became very sick and almost died. Raz, of course, being 13 years older. Raz was probably twenty-six and I was thirteen.and still in the beginning of his teaching career. He had started off as a seventh grade English teacher at a Junior High in Raleigh and after a couple of years took a job as football coach in a little town, Gibsonville, North Carolina. It was at Gibsonville that I came to live with him during that year.

My Dad was a stickler for education, spurred on by our Mom. The infamous story that we included in the book, “Brothers”, is the confrontation with our landlord at the time, over school. The common practice was that the tenant’s children would stay out of school until the crops were harvested. In this case, cotton, which at that time was king. We knew of this practice and our Mom had gone along with it but for some reason unknown to us, this year, she demanded that we start school with the rest of the kids. When this became apparent, Dad, who hated confrontation or as he put it, loved peace tried to intercede. When he couldn’t, he let it run its course; and as we say in the South, the “upshot” of it is that we started school with the other kids. And, of course, as soon as we got home from school, it was picking cotton until dark. We got it in, in mostly the same time, had we not gone to school. It was in this atmosphere that I went to live with my brother Raz.

There are many things I remember about that year, mostly good. I had come from an environment with few rules. As the “baby” brother I came along as an afterthought in a sense with my Mom being tired. With farming and Dad working on the second shift at Erwin Mills, there was not much time for supervision. To do pretty much what I wanted was the order of the day. Moving to live with my brother was a traumatic experience mainly because I suddenly encountered rules. But, even with that, it was mostly positive. I was beginning to notice girls and there seemed to be many that a thirteen year old could ogle. I think I had what I considered a sweetheart and maybe my first love, Bernice.

Raz was a father figure and hovered over me to make sure school was good. And I made sure I was enjoying myself as much as possible. He loved being reassured that the move was good. Raz looked lots like my Dad and I often pretended he was. The one time I remember really getting into trouble was attempting to go to a high school basketball game without paying because I was Raz’s brother. Busted, Raz brought “smoke” on me for my failure to do the right thing. He borrowed that concept from our dad. Doing the right thing was a lifelong theme for us and for Raz.

Raz and I had a Saturday morning ritual. He would heat sweet rolls and we would watch cartoons on TV. It was a special time. And, then about once a month he would send me to Gibsonville’s only drugstore where they had an ample supply of what we called, Funny Books(comics). I would buy several copies: Archie, Superman, Wonder Woman and a couple of others. It was my job to buy the funny books as Raz did not want the community knowing their football coach was reading comic books. I can see Raz in my mind’s eye laughing while reading Archie. A special time. I cannot say that I was sorry to see my residence in Gibsonville come to a halt, mainly as my Mom had recovered. However, it was a special times with my brother that I will always cherish.



A HERO To So Many
brother raz george raz autry, superintendent, principal author, brother, friend....
Raz Autry: husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend., mentor...

comments made by a friend who attended Razes' graveside service Saturday, April 21, 2012

...the number of folks that stood in heat to pay their last respects to Raz gave him a great "send off"! There wasn't a person there that didn't love and admire him. Nothing needed to be said that they didn't already know. My friend that went with me ...told about the number of lives that Raz helped change and she said the list went on and on. Even after he retired. He was truly a HERO to so many...Only thing he wanted was for his students to be good AMERICANS and to contribute to this Country. ..CH


Coach-Mentor Raz Autry
raz autry

Besides serving as a teacher, principal, and a superintendent, Raz also coached high school football. He also coached girls' and boys' basketball.

After his retirement, they named the football stadium after him at Hoke County High School. The following text is taken from the
Hoke County High School Website. Many still call him "The Coach".

George “ Raz” Autry: Raz Autry served as Principal of Hoke County High School from 1967 to 1973. He also served as Superintendent of Hoke County Schools from 1974 to 1983. As the Chairman of the committee in charge of raising funds.

Mr. Autry was instrumental in constructing the new stadium(at Hoke County High School), which bears his name today. He also served on the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors. Mr. Autry supported athletics at Hoke County High School in many ways and still does today.

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