John Marshall Rayburn, 77, a native and former longtime resident of Orange


Last updated 2/7/2023 at 1:58pm

John Marshall Rayburn, 77, a native and former longtime resident of Orange, passed away January 31, 2023, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas after a prolonged illness.

John graduated from West Orange High School in 1963, earned a Bachelor of Secondary Education in general science and biology from Lamar University in 1967, and a Master of Education Administration from McNeese State University in 1985. He served the Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana communities as an educator for 42 years. He taught science to generations of students at multiple campuses and served as vice principal in Goose Creek ISD and principal at Mauriceville Middle School. For nearly two decades, John led educational trips for middle school students during Spring Break and summer vacations. On each, participants visited dozens of destinations across the nation. Originally in conjunction with Mike Hoke’s science-based BIOS – A School on Wheels, he later began Far Horizons, which focused on U.S. history.

Buddy, as he was known to most of his family and friends, lived out his values humbly. The natural world was not just something to study, but to explore and protect. He cherished animals and could never turn away one in need. He named every farm animal he ever owned, and they enjoyed long and pampered lives. Many have described Buddy as a “gentle giant,” and that quality was never more evident than when he had a dog at his side. (They tended to gravitate to him.) His students remember Mr. Rayburn as an engaging storyteller who always addressed them as “Mr.” or “Miss,” followed by their last name. His respectful and calm demeanor made his classroom one even the most resistant learners could appreciate.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Carrie Mae Jackson and William Blanchard Rayburn; his wife of 24 years, Patricia Ann Metcalfe; his eldest son John Marshall Rayburn II; his sister, Katherine Ann Rayburn Rickert; and countless pets, including his favorite dog, Indy, a loving and loyal Blue Heeler.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Leigh Anne Rayburn, of Houston; daughter Courtney Rayburn of Dallas; granddaughter and grandson-in-law Harley and Jacob Martin, great-grandchildren Margot Abigayle and Bennett Archer Martin, all of California; and his four beloved dogs, Spot, Bit, Girl, and Star.

Visitation will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, February 11, at First Baptist Church of Mauriceville with a memorial service immediately following at 3 p.m.

At a future date, the family will scatter John’s ashes in Galveston, a place special to him and Pat in their early marriage. Her ashes were distributed there following her death in 1991.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the organizations John supported: St. John’s Indian School, the Michael W. Hoke Foundation, the ACLU, or your local dog shelter or rescue. Any way that you could dispense compassion or education into the world would honor the way he lived his life and bring him great joy.


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