Wreck victim Ray Wauson missed by loved ones
Aug. 17, 2010 at 3:17 a.m.
YOAKUM - Marsha Wauson reached across the table and took her sobbing husband's hand.
"This didn't have to happen," Denis Wauson said, losing his fight against tears. "When one person dies, we all die a little."
Two months ago, on June 18, one life was lost and others were changed forever.
It has taken the family of Ray Wauson, 24, this long to talk about the wreck that claimed their loved one.
That morning, the loaded Triple D Security Armored Service van crashed on U.S. Highway 59 near Edna, killing Ray and sending the driver Jim Hopping to the hospital with injuries.
"It didn't have to happen," his mother reiterated her husband's statement, "That's another reason we're having a hard time dealing with it."
"We don't know how to start over without him. We're still lost," she said. "I am barely surviving, barely breathing to make it through the day."
Wauson went to college, worked two jobs, and had a May 2011 wedding date set with his girlfriend of four years, Amber Machicek.
Majoring in business management at Victoria College, Wauson also worked at Home Depot on weekends and had joined Triple D on May 24, working three days a week during the summer.
The day of the wreck was his first on the job without a trainer present and the first day he was certified to carry his weapon.
He had been working since age 15 when he sacked grain at Yoakum Grain.
"He liked working with his dad at the family business," his mother said. "He was going to graduate from college and come back and work with us."
Wauson, a 2004 graduate of Yoakum High School, not only worked hard on the job and in school, but found time to help others.
At 19, he joined a team of workers who went to Louisiana to help with the Hurricane Katrina clean up.
"He told me he got more out of that than anything else he'd ever done," his dad said. "Those are the kinds of things that help you grow up, that make you a man. I was proud of him."
The hurricane clean up wasn't the first hardship Wauson had to overcome.
He was born with a cleft palate and developed diabetes as an infant.
He endured about 15 surgeries dealing with his cleft palate and wore a pump to help keep his diabetes under control, said his father.
"He never asked for special treatment. He was taking care of himself," Marsha said.
His father said his son had an uncanny ability to self-monitor his condition.
"He was born with the natural ability to feel it. That's rare," he said. "He never once went to the hospital because of high or low blood sugar."
But he did have tribulations, almost dying at least three times, his parents said.
She almost lost him in childbirth due to complications, he almost bled to death once due to problems with the cleft palate and once during surgery he was given too much anesthesia and nearly didn't come out of it, his father said.
"He was a unique person," said Wauson's mother. "He had overcome everything. He was strong and tough."
"He came through all that and then this happened. He deserved more life," Denis Wauson said.
A boy's life
"He was 100 percent boy," Wauson's father said when asked to describe his only child. "He loved the outdoors, to hunt, to fish and he loved animals. He loved the beach. He was an outdoors boy and loved the country life."
Wauson also excelled in mechanics, so much so that his parents built him a shop behind the house.
He had two pet projects that he completed before his death - he restored a 1970 International Scout and helped rework his dad's 1972 model.
"He could do anything with his hands," his mother said. "If something went wrong around the house, I'd just wait until Ray got home and I knew he could fix it."
Love of his life
Amber Machicek wears two rings on a chain around her neck, her own and Wauson's.
Although she and Wauson, who shared an apartment in Victoria, lived only a couple of miles apart growing up in Yoakum, they didn't meet until Machicek's cousin and the promise of a pizza brought them together in 2006.
Looking for something to do one night, Machicek, now 21, called a cousin.
"He said he was going to a party with his friend Ray and they were in Ray's truck. He told me that if we bought Ray a pizza he'd come pick me up," laughed Machicek, a 2007 Yoakum High graduate.
"We lived literally two minutes away from them (the Wausons), but we had never met," she said.
Although it was too late to get pizza that night, Wauson and Machicek became friends. They soon began dating and became practically inseparable.
"He never wanted to be apart very long," she said. "Even when he went deer hunting in West Texas, he'd climb the tallest deer stand to get cell service and call me. He'd tell me that he just wanted to hear my voice."
The two planned to marry on May 19, 2011, five years to the day of their first kiss.
"Ray even remembered the exact time, 11:53 p.m.," Machicek said.
About a week before Wauson died, a co-worker at Home Depot, Daniel Naranjo, died after being electrocuted in Corpus Christi.
His death had a profound impact on Wauson.
"After Daniel died Ray discussed what he wanted at his funeral," Machicek said. "He said we could strap his casket to the back of his favorite one-ton truck from Yoakum Grain."
"I told him we had a long time to discuss that, but he was adamant about talking about it," she said.
As it turns out, they didn't have long at all.
Machicek said the morning of the wreck, two Department of Public Safety troopers approached her at her job as a drive-through teller at Bank of America in Victoria.
She thought it was for a safety briefing because of recent bank robberies in Victoria.
"They told me what happened and asked me how to get in touch with his parents," she said. "One of the Wausons' neighbors drove to Victoria and took me back to Yoakum."
Marsha said her visit by a trooper came as a shock.
"She told me Ray didn't make it, and I asked her what she was talking about it. I didn't know there had been wreck," she said.
Denis was called and came home from work.
"We were all traumatized and devastated, and have been for the past eight weeks," Marsha said. "It's hard to accept he's gone."
"I miss him all day, from the time I wake up," she said. "I miss talking to him."
Denis, who keeps a photograph of Ray and Amber on his desk at Yoakum Grain, the same photo Ray carried in his wallet, said he also misses the daily phone calls from his son.
"He'd call to talk about what was happening with his day," Denis said. "I don't get those calls anymore."
His finance said she misses him most when she tries to fall asleep.
"He was my family," she said.
"We were so close to him being out of school and working together," Marsha said. "They'd be living on our ranch and having our grandkids."
"He was a good son," Marsha continued. "He worked hard, never gave us any trouble, followed all the rules.
Ray's father agreed.
"He wasn't just our child, he was our life," he said.