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ACU Remembers: Dr. Ray Whiteside


Dr. Ray Whiteside
Dr. Ray Whiteside

Former longtime psychology professor and chair Dr. Lonnie Ray Whiteside (’53) died Dec. 24, 2022, in Abilene, Texas, at age 92.

Visitation with the family will be Friday, Jan. 13, from  5-7 p.m. at Piersall Funeral Directors (733 Butternut St., Abilene, Texas 79602). A private graveside service will be held Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Abilene Municipal Cemetery (1133 Cottonwood St., Abilene, Texas 79604).

Whiteside was born May 20, 1930, in Childress, Texas, and graduated there from Kirkland High School in 1947. He was a member of Alpha Chi and worked in The Grill while a student at ACU, and wed Betty Tomkins in the parlor of McKinzie Hall on March 10, 1951. Betty had moved to Abilene from London, England, to help a sister rear her children, and the couple met while volunteering in bus ministry at the North Park Church of Christ.

He was a teacher in a one-room public school in Illinois from 1949-50 and a neuropsychiatric technician in the U.S. Army Medical Service from 1953-55.

Whiteside served as ACU’s assistant registrar (1955-61) and became an instructor of education and psychology in 1957, the same year he earned a M.Ed. in secondary education from Abilene Christian. After earning his doctorate in developmental/social psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1964, he returned to Abilene as an assistant professor of education and psychology, and director of the Computer Center. 

In 1966 he became an associate professor of psychology and in 1970 a full professor who was also chair of the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work, and director of psychological services. Whiteside remained in those roles until 1977, when he asked to return to full-time teaching and counseling. He retired in 1996.

Ray served as an elder at Abilene’s University Church of Christ, and on campus, Betty was the only person to serve as executive assistant to four ACU presidents: Drs. Don H. Morris (’24), John C. Stevens (’38), William J. Teague (’52) and Royce Money (’64).

Whiteside served on the Advisory Board of the Abilene Rape Crisis Center, the Professional Advisory Committee of Abilene’s Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority, the Research Review Committee of Abilene State Supported Living Center, and on several committees of the Texas Psychological Association. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Cager Whiteside and Eula (Austin) Whiteside; Betty, his wife of 66 years; brothers W.C. Whiteside (’49) and Don Whiteside; and a sister, Eunice Funderburk. Among survivors are daughters Denise (Whiteside ’89) Pevehouse and Melanie Whiteside Estes (’81); three grandchildren; and a sister, Ruby Simms.

— Ron Hadfield

Jan. 9, 2023

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