Ray Harold Koon
Ray Harold Koon, 84, a dedicated Christian and community servant, passed away peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s Disease on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at Nathan Adelson Hospice. His loving wife of more than 60 years, Bert Koon, was by his side at the time of his passing. His three daughters, family members, and close friends were also with him during his final days.
Ray was born on November 19, 1934, in Little Mountain, South Carolina, to Jesse Epting Koon and Harold Clay Koon. He is survived by his wife Bertha (Bert) Gardner Koon and his three daughters, Shari Koon Goode (Jon), Schyler Koon Richards (Gordon), and Kamela Koon Scott (David). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Benjamin Goode (Erica), Nathanael Goode (Natalie), Danica Richards Davies (Taylor), Nicolas Scott, and Isaac Scott, and great-grandchildren Riley Goode and Colton Goode. Ray is also survived by his brother Melvin Koon (Jerusha), as well as step-grandchildren, Adrienne Aubuchon (Kory), Rob Richards (Janelle), Alexis Whitney (Warren), Brittany Shiner, and Steve Richards (Sheila) and their children.
Ray attended South Norfolk High School in Virginia, and Old Dominion University, a division of the College of William and Mary, before enlisting in the United States Army in 1957 where he served as a Specialist Fourth Class at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Following his military service, Ray joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation and in 1960, was transferred to Las Vegas to help open Southern Nevada’s first FBI field office. He relocated to Carson City, in 1962, and became a Nevada State Gaming Control Board agent. During his tenure with the Gaming Control Board and until his early retirement in 1983, he served as an Investigator, Coordinator of Applicant Services, and Chief of the Investigations Division.
Later in 1983, Ray joined Hilton Hotels Corporation as Director of Gaming Surveillance, and served as a member of Barron Hilton’s President’s Staff. He was responsible for operational integrity at Hilton gaming properties in Nevada, New Jersey, and Australia. From 1987 until his full retirement in 2013, Ray served as a gaming consultant, expert witness, compliance officer, and public speaker to governmental agencies and private industry on gaming licensure, regulations, casino security, and surveillance. Ray was recognized for his international gaming consultant work by the Government of Malta with the presentation of the Maltese Knight Award for his service to the country. Among his proudest of achievements was serving as editor and publisher of Ray Koon’s GAMING/GRAM, an internationally circulated monthly newsletter providing a professional overview of Nevada and international gaming industry and regulatory activities. Ray Koon’s GAMING/GRAM was published for more than 28 years consecutively. Following his retirement, Ray lived with his wife Bert in Parowan, Utah prior to relocating back to Southern Nevada this past June.
A proud veteran, private pilot, volunteer firefighter, 32nd degree Scottish Rite Master Mason, and church leader, Ray was loved and cherished by all who met him. He leaves behind countless friends from his time as a dedicated servant to his Lord (Christian, teacher, Deacon, and Interim Pastor) at Park Street Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, First Baptist Church in Carson City, West Oakey Baptist Church (Shadow Hills) in Las Vegas, and Red Hills Baptist Church in Cedar City, Utah; as Volunteer Fire Chief for the Warren Engine Company in Carson City, Nevada; as a 34-year member of the Carson City Sheriff’s Aero Squadron and member of the Shriner’s Flight Crew which transported children and families to medical appointments; and as a 51-year member in Masonic Lodges in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson City, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2019 at Green Valley Baptist Church, 270 North Valle Verde Drive, Henderson NV 89074. There will also be an Honor Guard Service at 2:00 p.m. on February 11 at the Southern Nevada Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 1900 Buchanan Boulevard, Boulder City, NV 89005, followed by interment.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the “Ray Koon Memorial Tribute” in support of the Center for Gaming Research in the UNLV Library. Gifts can be made online at https://netcommunity.unlv.edu/ givetotribute or by mail to: UNLV Foundation, Box 451006, Las Vegas, NV 89154-1006, and note on the check: Ray Koon Memorial Tribute.
The Koon family is forever grateful for the compassionate care given to Ray by the wonderful nurses, physicians, and staff at St. Rose Dominican Hospital Siena Campus and Nathan Adelson Hospice.