Ozona and Sonora communities are grieving together after receiving the news of a couple’s tragic death Sunday morning.

Rachel and Ray Yourgalite, both 51, died in an accident after the motorcycle they were riding hit a deer on Ranch-to-Market Road 3130, about 24 miles east of Sonora, according to a report from The Texas Department of Public Safety.

The accident occurred at 9:16 a.m. Sunday, October 3, 2021. The couple was pronounced dead by Sutton County Justice of the Peace Joseph Harris, the report stated.

Rachel Yourgalite taught sixth grade math at Ozona Middle School. She previously taught in Ozona Elementary School and at Sonora ISD. The couple resided and made Sonora their home.

“Not many words to say right now. What I can say right now is we loved them so much, and were greatly impacted by their love and graciousness,” said Jocelyn Yourgalite, the couple’s daughter-in-law, on her Facebook page.
The couple had two children, Liam, 23, and Megan, 26. Rachel and Ray celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in July. The couple were members of the 23-12 Chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, a non-profit veterans organization.

“Rachel was one of the kindest people I have ever known. She was a great teacher and a wonderful person. OMS was blessed to have had her on our campus. I will continue to pray for their children, Megan and Liam, as they have lost so very much,” said OMS Eighth Grade Teacher Dana Criswell.
Grief counselors were at Ozona Middle School on Monday to assist with staff and students.

"The CCCCSD family is mourning the loss of one of our beloved staff members Rachel Yourgalite and her husband. Our prayers go out to their family and the staff and students,” said CCCCSD Superintendent Raul Chavarria.

Fellow teachers and parents both past and present remembered Rachel as a great teacher and friend.

Ozona Elementary Teacher Kimberly Harris said “Mrs. Yourgalite always had a smile greeting everyone every day. She made math fun for all students, and they knew she believed in them.” Harris’ son had Rachel for a teacher this school year.

“They were some of the best, most selfless people. A light in this world,” said former student from Sonora, Katelyn Lipham. “Mrs. Yourgalite was and always will be one of my favorite teachers, one of the few that could make math enjoyable for me.”

Sonora Elementary 5th grade teacher Marla Luna said, “I was honored and blessed to have taught with Rachel for 6 years. In that time, she became my right hand professionally and personally.”

Former colleague Carol Leonard stated, “Rachel was an excellent and dedicated teacher. She cared deeply for her students and fellow teachers. She was quiet but wise. I was blessed to have had her as a friend and colleague.” She added, “Rachel made this world a better place.”

Sonora resident and school board member Brenda Muniga spent time with the Yourgalites when their children attended Sonora schools together.

“It seems unreal these two beautiful souls are gone. They will be greatly missed. We have some great memories and will always remember them both,” Muniga said.

Ray Yourgalite, or “Yogi,” as he was known by his friends, worked for Epic Permian LLC.

Co-worker Oscar Vargas said the couple were “good people and a great family.”

“We often talked about our kids. He was very proud of them. He was a very soft-spoken, quiet guy. He will be missed. What a horrible tragedy,” Vargas said.

Long time friends Wade and Tami Fitzgerald added, “They were each a force in their own but an even greater force together. Their love for each other, family and friends was never left to be doubted.”

The couple were on a 2014 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle traveling east when the motorcycle struck a deer in the roadway causing the motorcycle to roll onto its side and then proceeded to flip over multiple times before coming to a stop, the report stated. Road conditions were clear and dry.

The accident was investigated by DPS Trooper Justin Derr, of Junction, and DPS Trooper Timothy Grace, of Sonora. They were assisted by the Sutton County Sheriff's Office.

As of Tuesday, October 5, funeral services are still pending.