Donald Ray Presson, 77, the founder and president of Spray King Manufacturing, Inc. of Fresno, Calif., died Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, after a long illness. He was born March 17, 1931.

Mr. Presson started building spray machines in his backyard in 1957, and later founded Spray King Manufacturing in 1966. According to the company Web site, he started out as a drywall contractor, but the experience gave him solid ground and insight into what the construction industry needed in a spray machine. He invented a more efficient method of pumping texture and acoustic, obtained a patent for his pump, and founded Sprayline Manufacturing. He later sold Sprayline and founded Spray King Manufacturing.

Mr. Presson held several world records as a drag boat racer in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He twice broke world speed records while driving his Sanger boat, “Slingshot.” A 1965 explosion ended his drag racing career, but not his love for speed. He also raced motorcycles and flew his own Beechcraft Bonanza.

Family members said Mr. Presson loved Mexico and often flew his plane to and from a house he shared with several fishing buddies in Abreojos, Baja, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Arleen, of Clovis, Calif.; children, Rebekah (Dewey) Presson Mosby of Hamilton, N.Y., Deby (Robert) Hill of Clovis, and Guy of Fresno; stepdaughter, Kara (Jim) Veith; sister, Lisa Kay Presson; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, at the New Hope Community Church, 4620 E. Nees Ave., in Clovis. He will be interred at the Red Bank Cemetery in Clovis.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be sent to SPCA or the American Heart Association.