William Dolphus “Bill” Ray Jr., 88, of Ellisville died Monday, April 17, 2017 at the State Veterans Home in Collins.
Bill was born Saturday, Feb. 16, 1929, in Purvis. He honorably served 22 years in the United States Air Force and retired with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt). He was stationed in Alaska, Alabama, California, Mississippi, Nevada, CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada, and RAF Lakenheath, England. During his time of service, he quietly supported the SR-71 Blackbird as an air traffic controller.
He enjoyed collecting antiques from various countries during his service, playing the piano and guitar, and loved Bluegrass gospel music. He was a member of Pecan Grove Baptist Church as well as the Masonic Lodge, Shriners International and American Legion. He will be truly missed by his family and all who knew him.
He was preceded in death by his parents William Dolphus Ray Sr. and Annie Bell Ray; son Daniel Edward Ray; sisters Freddie Mae Williams, Zelma West and Dymple Battles; and brother Welton Ray.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years Athalene Ray of Ellisville; two sons, Greg (Debbie) Ray of Ellisville and Ricky (Tanya) Ray of Picayune; grandchildren Tracie Ray of Birmingham, Ala., Justin (Mandy) Ray of Lusaka, Zambia, Kelly (Wendy) Ray of Gulfport and Brandon Ray of Ellisville; three great-grandchildren, Drew Davis of Agricola and Connor Ray and Caiden Ray of Lusaka, Zambia; sisters Mary Ann Boykin (Hilton) of Moselle, Ginger White of Collinsville and Syble Park (Terry) of Huntsville, Ala.; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at Ellisville Funeral Home. The funeral will be at 11 a.m., followed by burial in Ellisville Cemetery. Brother John Cockrell will officiate.
Ellisville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook may be signed at www.ellisvillefuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Veterans Outreach, 15 Pritchett Dr., Collins, MS 39428.