Gordon Ray Shackelford of Golden Coin Amusements in Fredericksburg, Va., tragically died on Feb. 20 in a car accident. He just celebrated his 73rd birthday last month. Shackelford is survived by his wife Susan and son Shannon.
Shackelford was a pro bowler early in his career and he and Susan found their passion in the amusement industry in 1983. He was a regular at industry auctions in North Carolina and Tennessee and was a big poker player – often playing at regional World Series of Poker tournaments.
His wife Sue shared that he “opened the first bowling center in the state of Virginia that was alcohol and smoke free because that is the way he thought it should be.” She continued: “He has been a husband that any woman would want to have and a father a son could look up to. Our lives have been profoundly better to have had him and will be profoundly changed and lacking to have him gone.
“One source of comfort is that he felt unusually good on Saturday and looked good and spent his last hours doing something that he enjoyed. He played the game of life and left everyone with good things to say and his friends and family will miss him immeasurably.”
Industry friends and colleagues also shared in the loss. Greg Halsey of Southern Amusements said: “This is an incredibly sad day. I lost a great friend and mentor. Ray always gave to all of us in the coin-op community and never expected anything in return. Ray always had such a positive attitude. He will truly be missed.”
Nick Sarioglou of Betson’s Mid-Atlantic office said: “We are all saddened by this tragic news. Ray and his family have been dear friends for over 40 years. I’ve been blessed to witness the love he gave to one and all and to see the respect he had for everyone big or small. My heartfelt condolences to Susan and Shannon. His absence will undoubtedly leave a void in all our hearts and the amusement industry. May his memory be eternal.”
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.