Galveston Ferry Named for Baylor Alumnus Ray Stoker Jr.

Jan. 9, 1997

by Colin M. Witt

WACO, Texas - The Texas Department of Transportation will commission a passenger ferry named in honor of Baylor University alumnus Ray Stoker Jr., a prominent Texas attorney and former chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission, at a ceremony Monday, Jan. 13, in Galveston.

The 11 a.m. ceremony will be held at Pier 21 in historic Galveston. Stoker and his wife, Carol, also a Baylor alumna, will be on hand as will state transportation officials.

The Ray C. Stoker, Jr. is painted green and gold, Baylor's school colors, and will enter service this month, replacing the older R.S. Sterling.

The Stoker joins the Robert C. Lanier and the Dewitt C. Greer, both of which are also named for former Transportation Commission chairmen. The Lanier is painted orange and white in honor of Lanier's alma mater, the University of Texas, and the Greer is maroon and white, in honor of Greer's alma mater, Texas A&M University.

At a cost of $8.2 million, the Stoker is 263 feet long and has a beam, or width, of 65 feet. It has a capacity of 70 automobiles and 500 passengers. The ferry employs an advanced cycloidal propulsion system in place of conventional propellers, allowing for more efficient operation and manueverability.

Ray Stoker received a bachelor of business administration degree from Baylor in 1961 and a juris doctor degree in 1964. A lifelong resident of Odessa, Stoker is a partner in the Odessa law firm Shafer, Davis, McCollum, Ashley, O'Leary and Stoker, which he joined in 1965.

Texas Gov. Mark White appointed Stoker as to the Transportation Commission in 1985, and Gov. Ann Richards appointed him chairman in 1991, a position he held until 1993. Stoker has served on the board of directors for the Baylor Law School and the Bear Foundation.

More than 6 million persons ride the free ferry service between Galveston and Port Bolivar each year, a 2.7 mile crossing that takes 15 minutes.

For more information, contact the Texas Department of Transportation Houston Office at (713) 802-5072.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?