Cover photo for Louis "Ray" Rayford Guzardo's Obituary
Louis "Ray" Rayford Guzardo Profile Photo
1924 Louis "Ray" Rayford Guzardo 2024

Louis "Ray" Rayford Guzardo

April 6, 1924 — May 24, 2024

Nederland, Texas.


     Louis Rayford Guzardo of Nederland, Texas went to be with our Lord on May 24, 2024, at the age of 100. Rayford was born on April 6, 1924, in Nederland, Texas to Anthony “Tony” and Louise Champagne Guzardo. He graduated from Nederland High School in 1942, and attended Lamar University where he participated in track and field activities.  
     Rayford entered the US Army Air Corps at Dodd Field in San Antonio in 1943 and was later assigned as tail-gunner aboard a four-engine B-24 bomber, the “Lucky 13”. From his base at Foggia, Italy, the “Lucky 13” could reach almost every point in southern Europe. At one point while over southern France, the “Lucky 13” was able to escape an attack by 18 Messerschmidt fighters. On their 43rd mission on July 7, 1944, two engines were knocked out and the plane eventually belly landed in a Hungarian wheat field. The entire crew was taken into custody by farmers with pitchforks and held as prisoners of war in Stalag Luft IV, a German prison camp located on the Polish border. Rayford survived for seven months on a diet of coffee and thin potato or kohlrabi soup, and a basic Red Cross care package delivered every two weeks. Rayford was led on “The Black March”, a 600-mile march for two months that ended near Hamburg where he was finally liberated by British troops. Rayford was able to return home to Texas, was discharged in September 1945, and awarded the Purple Heart.

     After the war, Rayford opened Guzardo Feed and Supply in 1946. He ran the business until he sold it in 1999 at the age of 75. Rayford had a passion for gardening and was very interested in protecting the Earth’s resources. He frequently had discussions with family about the area’s air and water quality. Rayford’s green thumb allowed him to grow the most beautiful produce and teach his family how to develop and maintain their own gardens. When he could no longer maintain his own garden, Rayford loved to drive around town to check on his friends’ gardens.  
     Rayford had a tremendous love of history and books, and encouraged anyone he met to expand their knowledge through reading. On many occasions, Rayford donated collections of books to area school libraries. Rayford would also visit schools to discuss not only his life experiences in war and business, but to encourage the children to continue exploring the expansive world of literature.
     Rayford met his wife, Virginia “Bootsie” Boutte at a skating rink in 1948. They married on July 31, 1949, and went on to have 5 children. Married for nearly 75 years, Bootsie was his “sunshine”; she was the light of his life. Every morning while at home, Rayford would deliver Bootsie a bedside cup of coffee.  
     Rayford is preceded in death by his parents, Tony and Louise Guzardo; his siblings, Matthew Guzardo, Dovie Munlin, Irma Borel, and Billy Guzardo. 
     Rayford is survived by his wife, Virginia Boutte; his children, Donna Robbins and her husband, Charles Robbins, Debbie Guzardo, Karen Wortham and her husband, Bob Wortham, Mark Guzardo, and Brenda Davis; his 8 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren.

     Serving as Pallbearers will be, Luke Davis, Zachary Wortham, Baylor Wortham, R.J. Wortham, Michael Robbins, and Christopher Robbins. Honorary Pallbearers will be Deven Schafer, Tom Flanagan, Kelly Teakell, Dwayne Borel, and Ronnie Minaldi.
     Rayford's life will be celebrated through two events. First, a gathering of family and friends will be held at Melancon~Levingston Funeral Home in Nederland on Thursday, May 30, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Melancon~Levingston Funeral Home in Nederland on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. with Father J.C. Coon, Officiant. Interment with full Military Honors will follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches, Texas.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Louis "Ray" Rayford Guzardo, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering of Family and Friends

Thursday, May 30, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, May 31, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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