Ray Lofton Dudley, publisher, son of Nicholas Lee and Cordelia (Stover) Dudley, was born on August 8, 1891, at Stoverville, Denton County, Texas. He attended Lewisville Academy, Denton High School, and North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas), then taught in a rural school for three years. He entered Baylor University but did not stay to receive a degree. As a young man he held various newspaper positions in Dallas, Marshall, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Houston. His first connection with the oil industry was as oil editor of the Houston Post, a position he held briefly before becoming editor in 1918 of the Gulf Coast Oil News (later called the Oil Weekly and, still later, World Oil).
In 1918 he purchased the Oil Weekly and became president of Gulf Publishing Company, publisher of the magazine. In 1923 he became general manager for the Houston Post Dispatch in addition to presiding over Gulf Publishing. Sixteen months later he retired from daily newspaper work and thereafter devoted full time to his oil publications.
Under his leadership Gulf Publishing Company became the world's largest specialized publisher on oil subjects. World Oil, Pipe Line Industry, and Hydrocarbon Processing were its major publications. The company also published composite catalogs serving major branches of the oil industry. These publications became known as "oil industry Bibles."
Dudley was chairman of Gulf Printing Company, one of the largest printing firms in the South and Southwest, director of the American Petroleum Institute and Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, and one of the founders of NOMADS, an organization made up of oilmen with international business experience. His civic activities included serving as trustee of Baylor University, board member of both Hermann Hospital and Texas Medical Center, president of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and board member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He was one of the founders of the Houston Livestock Show and for a number of years owned a large ranch at Rio Frio in the Uvalde area. He and his wife, the former Frederica Gross, had four children. He died on October 29, 1957, in Houston.