Dr. Coleman Raley, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Dies at 90

Dr. Coleman L. Raley, longtime professor of psychology at Oklahoma Baptist University, died Sunday, June 17, in Shawnee. He was 90. A former chaplain, pastor, school teacher and counselor, Raley was instrumental in creating OBU’s psychology department in 1955. He later served as chairman of the department. Born May 12, 1917, in Rosebud, Texas, Raley graduated from Rosebud High School in 1934. He completed a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1938. He also completed a master of divinity degree from Texas Christian University in 1945. He earned a master’s of education degree in guidance from the University of Texas in 1951 and completed his doctorate in psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 1959. Raley joined the OBU faculty in 1955 as assistant professor of psychology. He was promoted to the rank of professor in 1960. While completing his degree at Texas Christian University, he taught English and was a counselor in public schools in Texas and Oklahoma. He served as a chaplain with the Atlantic Fleet of the United States Navy during World War II. Before he began his OBU teaching career, he organized Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and served as the church’s pastor from 1952-55. Upon joining OBU’s faculty, Raley helped to craft the psychology curriculum, which led to creation of the university’s psychology department in 1955. He served in the department for 26 years, before retiring in 1981. He was named professor emeritus of psychology in 1982, and was active in OBU events during retirement, including service on the OBU Alumni Association board of directors. Raley was the eighth of nine children. His brother, Dr. John Wesley Raley, served as OBU’s president from 1934-61. Raley married Fern Norwood on March 24, 1945, in Salado, Texas. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and son-in-law, Rev. Cheryl Raley Wood and Tim Wood of Columbia, Tenn.; two grandsons, Daniel Raley Wood and Michael James Wood, and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be Wednesday, June 20, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Shawnee.