Zay William Gilbreath

zay gilbreath

October 25, 1939 ~ April 19, 2022

Born in: Dimmitt, Texas
Resided in: Dallas, Texas

Zay William Gilbreath, 82, died peacefully on April 19, 2022, surrounded by his family, at his home in Dallas.

Mr. Gilbreath was born on October 25, 1939, in a second-story doctor’s office in Dimmitt, TX, the second son of J.C. (Sam) and Virginia Gilbreath. They lived on the family farm until Zay was in junior high, then Sam built a house “in town”. Upon graduation from Dimmitt High in 1958, Zay entered Texas A&M University, Class of ’62. He married Charlotte Mears of Dimmitt on December 23rd, 1960. Zay graduated from A&M in 1962, received his Master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1963, and went to work for Cargill in their soybean processing division. He was with Cargill until his retirement in 2004. While with Cargill, he lived in Memphis TN, Des Moines IA, Minneapolis MN, Sioux City IA, Gruver TX, and Amarillo TX. He finished the last 28 years of his career as President of Caprock Industries, the Cargill-owned cattle feeding subsidiary at the time. During these years he also served as President and Board member of the Texas Cattle Feeders Assn, and the National Cattlemen’s Assn. He and Charlotte retired to College Station, TX, in 2007. His last year was spent in Dallas TX with Charlotte, near his family.

Zay was always active in the United Methodist Church wherever he lived. Faith was a private matter to him, but very important. He taught Sunday School, played the role of Thomas in “The Last Supper” performance for several years, and was always a dedicated church member and supporter wherever he lived. Always focused on serving others, he volunteered in many capacities over the years, including stints with the United Way and Special Olympics in Amarillo.

If Zay was anything, he was a life-long, dedicated Aggie. He took in all Aggie jokes with a grin. While living in the Midwest, he caught Aggie football games on the radio whenever he could find the broadcast. He and his family attended many games once moving back to Texas. He and Charlotte had season tickets in the Zone Club, as well as season tickets for basketball and baseball. He volunteered at NCAA indoor track events. He was a Class Agent, giving that up only upon making the final move to Dallas. He was selected as an Outstanding Alumnus for the College of Agriculture in 2003. He served as a member of the Ag Development Council at A&M. He and Charlotte donated funds to create the Zay and Charlotte Gilbreath Family Scholarship within the College of Agriculture. A true Aggie in every sense of the word.

Zay was pre-deceased by his parents Sam and Virginia, his beloved big brother John, and nephew Hal.

Survivors include his wife Charlotte of Dallas, and three sons – Gary and Cindy Gilbreath of Frisco TX, Alan and Sherri Gilbreath of Richardson TX, and Mark and Jennifer Gilbreath of Canyon TX, plus two nephews Coby and Matt of Dimmitt. Also – his true joy of being Grandad to 11 grandkids and 9 great grandkids (with a 10th expected any day!)

Zay lived a full life of focus and care for others, with a perpetual and contagious positive spirit and outlook, and modeled an incomparable legacy of service, character, and integrity for his family and friends to attempt to follow. He will be forever missed, and forever remembered.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the Brazos Valley Boys and Girls Clubs or to the Amarillo Children’s Home.

Viewing will be on Sunday, April 24th, from 1-3pm, at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home, 3001 S. College Ave, Bryan TX 77801. Services will be held Monday, April 25th, 10 am, at A&M United Methodist Church, 417 University Dr, College Station TX College Station, TX. Inurnment will follow at Aggie Field of Honor and Memorial Cemetery, 3800 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy, College Station, TX 77845.


Visitation: April 24, 2022 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801


Funeral Service: April 25, 2022 10:00 am

A&M United Methodist Church
417 University Dr.
College Station, TX 77840

(979) 846-8731

Interment: April 25, 2022 11:00 am

Aggie Field of Honor
3800 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy
College Station, TX 77845


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  1. A world class boss and leader that turned into a wonderful friend. May the Lord keep him close and watch over his family that is left behind.

  2. Zay was a true friend and mentor to many of us who were members of the TAMU College of Ag Development Council. His ear to ear smile and love for Texas A&M and the College of Ag will always be remembered. I was honored to answer “here” at roll call last night for this dear friend and Aggie.

  3. Say, was a great friend and leader who was always ready to listen and provide advice for any situation, we will definitely miss his very interesting visits during our College of Agriculture Development Council meeting and his leadership and advice . Prayers to the family. Zay will be missed by all.

  4. Our thoughts and prayers are with Zay’s family. He was a dear friend to all in the Class of ’62.

  5. A classmate, a friend and a neighbor. You were the epitome what an Aggie should be. Our thoughts and prays are with Charlie and sons. God Bless.

  6. So many wonderful visits over the years. We recall our first reunion in 1987, a particularly great evening visiting at Zay’s home in College Station and catching up on 25 years of life. Next day we all went to Steve Stephen’s home and enjoyed kolaches and continued catching up on 25 years of life events.
    Our prayers and thoughts are with Zay’s entire family.

  7. Zay gave me my start at working in the cattle feeding business.

    Just a super good human! Prayers to Gilbreath family and friends

  8. Very sorry to hear of Zay’s passing. Knowing him as the head of Caprock at Cargill, he was a disciplined and honest leader; he demanded accuracy, which in weather forecasting was a tough assignment. All of us in the Weather Department deeply respected Zay and were blessed to have worked with him.

  9. I had the joy of knowing Zay as we were managing Soybean Processing Plants for Cargill. He was a very special guy loved by all. He had a deep faith and was a wonderful Christian. We will have the joy of seeing Zay again. God’s richest blessings on his family. George Landsverk Fort Collins, CO

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