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John Ray Gable 1928 - 2018
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John Ray Gable 1928 - 2018

AURORA, Colo. — John Ray Gable, 90, was born to John and Alice (Houston) Gable on April 1, 1928, in Great Bend, Kan. He passed away on May 24, 2018, in Parker, Col., surrounded by his loving family. He graduated from Great Bend High School in 1947. John married JoAnn Reed, his high school sweetheart, on September 5, 1948, in Wichita, Kan. They were married for 70 years.
In 1950, John and JoAnn started Gable Water Service in Plainville, Kan. They moved to Hill City, Kan., in 1961 and started Gable Ready Mix. In 1963, they moved to Kimball, Neb., where John formed Rocky Mountain Drilling Company and purchased his first drilling rig. From then on, he owned various oil and gas businesses. During the oil and gas boom of the 1980s, John owned Empire Oil and Gas which he took public. The stock was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. John was a legend in the oil and gas business throughout the Midwest. His business expanded from Montana to West Virginia.
John had business negotiations with the Republic of China in 1981 to acquire the first oil and gas drilling concessions in China by an American Oil Company. John remained involved in the oil and gas business until the time of this death.
John became a pilot in the 1950s. He loved flying and owned a variety of airplanes including a Lear jet. John’s true passion was working in the oil and gas industry around the clock. John was passionate about attending oil field equipment auctions and buying drilling rigs and oil field equipment. John was a member of the Shriners Masonic Lodge for 67 years.
John is survived by his wife, JoAnn; three children, Judy (Allan) Kuhlman, Diana Martin and John Alan Gable; seven grandchildren, Brittan (JoEllen) Kuhlman, Codie (Melisa) Martin, Heidi Martin, John Alan (Jennifer) Gable, Tyler Gable, Jesse Gable, Cole Gable; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Madeline Redd. John was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Maxine Anderson.
John will be dearly missed by his family and friends who loved him very much.
Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Friday, June 1, 2018, at Bryant Funeral Home, Great Bend, with Troy Miller presiding. Interment will follow at Great Bend Cemetery, Great Bend. As per the family’s request, the casket will be closed. A memorial fund has been established for Shriners Hospitals for Children, in care of Bryant Funeral Home.
Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by
Bryant Funeral Home
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, KS 67530
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 29, 2018