Reared at a ranch near Clarendon, Texas, Ray focused on the subjects he grew up with. He moved with his family in the early 1950"s to the Happy Hereford Ranch south of Canyon. Don graduated from Canyon High School in 1955. Don received a BS and MEd in Art from West Texas State University.
Don worked for American Quarter Horse Journal and was the first graphic arts director for the regional education service center in Amarillo. He served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1963.
Working in bronze and oil, Don Ray concentrated his work on the landscape and historical events of the Panhandle-Plains region and on Civil War History. He exhibited widely in the southwest and with the Hudson Valley Art Association, White Plains, New York: Abercombie and Fitch, New York; Mountain Oyster Club, Tucson; the Nita Stewart Haley Library, Midland, Texas; and the Panhandle Plains Invitational Western Art Show and Sale.
Major sculpture commissions include the life-and-a half bronze The Lesson for the Lovett Memorial Library in Pampa, TX;The Harvester for Pampa High School; and a bust of a Erastus "Deaf" Smith for the Deaf Smith County Court House in Hereford.
Don Ray also created Boss of the Plains, a rancher astride his favorite cow horse, in 1999 as an annual recognition of the individuals throughout the nation who have provided outstanding support of the Nation Ranching Center.
For Haley Memorial Library and History Center in Midland, Ray sculpted bas reliefs for the "Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman"s Award of Honor". He also sculpted bronzes of Charles Goodnight, J. Evetts Haley, Jeff Milton, and George W. Littlefield, for the J. Evetts Haley Literacy Bust Series.
The artist was a long-time member and supporter of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society and Museum. Don Ray passed away on September 27, 2006.