Coach Earnest Ray Procella

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mr. Earnest Ray Procella of Orange, Texas passed away on April 01, 2023, at his grandson’s home in Orange. He was 91.

Funeral services will be at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange on Saturday, April 8, 2023, at 2:00 p.m.

Officiating will be one of Mr. Procella’s grandsons, Pastor Michael Procella, and one of Mr. Procella’s students from Cove, Pastor Charles Miller.

Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Orange.

Visitation will be prior to the service from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Claybar Funeral Home.

Earnest was born on January 14, 1932, in Hemphill, Texas. He was the fifth son of Henry and Marcelena (Parrie) Procella.

Altogether, the couple had six boys and no girls. Earnest’s dad died of pneumonia when he was just four years old. His mother later remarried and had one more boy. Earnest loved all his brothers and especially his mother.

She often said to her boys, “We don’t fight with each other. We fight for each other.”

He loved growing up in East Texas where life was simple and fun. Earnest graduated in 1949 from Hemphill High School where he played football and basketball.

He would have played baseball too if the school would have had a team.

After high school, he did play baseball for two semi-pro teams in East Texas: one was in Milam and the other was in San Augustine.

He also worked for one of his older brothers by carrying blocks of ice around Hemphill. From 1951 to 1953, Earnest served in the United States Army. This was during the Korean War.

After his service to the military was fulfilled, he played some more baseball for a minor league team in Dothan, Alabama. At the time, this team was affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, from whom he received an invitation to play.

But he turned it down and opted to move back home because he missed his momma’s cooking, especially her pinto beans.

Upon moving back to East Texas, he married Mary Bernice Bourghs. Together, they had three sons. Amid raising a family, Earnest went to Stephen F. Austin State College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1959 and a Master of Education in 1964.

After graduating from SFA in 1959, Earnest moved his family to Orange where he took his first school job at Cove.

He later coached and taught at West Orange and for the Little Cypress – Mauriceville school district.

He retired after the 1989-1990 school year, thus working thirty years as a teacher and a coach all in the Orange area. Even though Earnest was of retirement age, he retired earlier than he had planned to help his second wife, June Roy, take care of her father in Bridge City.

While living in Bridge City, Earnest would run over the Rainbow Bridge and back for exercise. Earnest remained physically fit and active his entire life until the last year of his life due to dementia.

Earnest was a longtime member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. He also went with his second wife to her church, First Christian Church of Orangefield, until her passing in 1994, as well as to his eldest grandson’s churches in the Orange area: Hartburg Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of West Orange.

Earnest confessed faith in Jesus Christ. Earnest lived in the Cypress Bayou condos for about thirty years. While there, in addition to walking his longtime little dog, Sambo, and taking care of the yardwork and everybody’s garbage cans on trash day, he made invaluable friends who were all about his age.

One of whom would go with him to all the sports games across the street at LCM High School. Earnest also met regularly with a group of his friends from Hemphill who all moved down to the Southeast Texas area, as well as with some of his former students and colleagues from his days as a teacher and coach.

Earnest also supported all his grandkids in all their extra-curricular activities by attending every function. Earnest had Native American ancestry and was a member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, a state-recognized tribe in Louisiana.

All in all, Earnest was a kind, gentle, sweet man who was laid-back and easygoing.

He was a simple man who loved his family, loved his friends, loved his students, and loved sports. He was beloved by all.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Marcelena Procella, as well as his wife, June Procella.

He is survived by his sons, Michael Ray Procella and wife, Tommilyn, Ernest Glenn Procella and wife, Millie, and Barry Paul Procella and wife, Terri; grandchildren, Michael Procella and wife, Emilee, April Thompson and husband, Wesley, Erica Arnold and husband, Wesley, Landon Procella and wife, Emily, Jared Wagnon and wife, Amanda, and Jenna Procella; eight great-grandchildren; stepchildren, Jennifer Guidry and husband, Kent, and Jeff Roy and wife, Leah; step-grandchildren, Drek Guidry and wife, Amber, Lindsay Davis and husband, Session, Brooke Chambless and husband, Clint, Reid Guidry and wife, Evan, and Jeslyn Sabol and husband, Will; and twelve step-great-grandchildren; brothers Eugene Procella, Billy Brad Lankford and wife, Donna; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Serving as pallbearers will be Mike Procella, Glenn Procella, Barry Procella, Michael Procella, Landon Procella, Carson Sauceda, and Sky Thompson.

Honorary pallbearers are his surviving brothers, grandsons-in-law, and his former players and students.

The family would like to thank Montebello Home Care, especially caregiver Millissa Carter, as well as all the staff of Southeast Texas Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Mr. Earnest Ray Procella’s grandson’s church, First Baptist Church of West Orange, where grandson Michael plans on using said contributions to start a nonprofit organization in his grandfather’s name and honor that raises awareness about dementia.

Write “Earnest” on the Memo line of your checks sent to First Baptist Church of West Orange, 608 Dayton Street, Orange, Texas 77630.

To his sons: Daddy. To his grandkids: Paw Paw. To his students: Coach. To family and friends: Earnie.