William Anthony “Andy” Ray was born to the late Dorothy Duhart Davis and Willie Ray on January 31, 1957 in Waycross, Georgia. After spending his early childhood years in Waycross, he lived with his father and his stepmother, Claudette in Detroit, Michigan from ages 7 to 17. He then returned to Waycross where he mastered the game of football and graduated from Waycross High School in 1976. From 1978 to 1993, he served in the United States Army.
William and his wife, Cheryl Sherrod Ray, were united in holy matrimony in 1986, and they remained married for 36 years until God called him home. Between the two of them, they shared six children. Despite the challenges of military life, their unity, trust, and faith kept their marriage strong. Because his wife, Cheryl, remained in the military when he got out, William held a number of jobs throughout the United States and the world, including over nine years working in the Military Dining Facility in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri followed by Germany, and then he returned to the state of Washington where he was employed by the United States Air Force Dining Facility. William also worked in Macedonia as a contractor for KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root).
In 1997, William gave his life to Christ, and from 2004 to 2009 he was a member of Greater Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Waycross. His life took a drastic turn in 2009 when he experienced three strokes back-to-back, which rendered him permanently disabled. William fought for 13 and a half years to regain his strength and abilities, and he engaged in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy on an ongoing basis.
William was a sociable and laid-back person who loved to talk, laugh, listen to music, and have a good time. He liked people and people liked him, and he was always the life of the party. He enjoyed good food and good drink, and those who knew him best have described him as a person who would eat and sleep at anybody’s house. In the military, he was known for barbecuing and throwing parties, and he was a master on the grill. William liked shooting pool, playing dominoes and backgammon. He was an avid fan of all types of sports, especially football and basketball. Another one of his joys in life was driving on long road trips. William loved his family immensely and lived a full, well-rounded life until the end.
William was preceded in death by his father, Willie; both mothers, Dorothy and Claudette; one daughter, Jas’Ma Johnson; and one granddaughter, Kiara Simpkins.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Cheryl Sherrod Ray; five children, Alton Dixon, Juamada Page (Carmen), Kiyah Ray-Simpkins (Jimmy), Dominique Clay, and Danzel Ray (Alicia); 20 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, Tru and Honor; five siblings, Paula Parrish (Lester), Wanda Bradfield, Joyce Savage (Allen), Denise Johnson (Charles), and Maurice Duhart; three aunts, Algertha Perry, Evangelist Louise Flynn, and Andi Anderson; two uncles, Henry Ray, Albert Flynn and his military brother, Ted Ray (Lisa); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
A memorial service celebrating William’s life will take place on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home. His family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service.
by Cheryl Sherrod Ray
Looking back in hindsight,
Your getting ill was the best years of our life.
We laughed, we joked, and had a lot of fun.
It’s insane for me to say, but God tought us how to love in a very different way.
God has a way of making you reflect.
He has a way of getting you all off to yourself.
Everybody wants to dance like Gingers Rogers and Fred Astaire. But some people dance better from an electric wheelchair.
I’ve got a story, a story to tell!
God gave us a second chance, and we lived it well!
There were times I made up stories and they were only fairytales
Where you were the superhero and I was the Princess of Wales.
And when I rubbed your head or your feet and read you novels before you went to sleep, there were times you would say, “no woman has ever stroked my ego this way.”
People thought that I controlled you from day to day. But the reality is that you wouldn’t have had it any other way.
What they didn’t understand because our relationship was out of their reach, is that you were the canine trainer that kept me on my leash.
Farewell, my love, as you’ve been given your wings. For God only knows what tomorrow will bring.
I will always love you,
Cheryl Sherrod Ray
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Saturday, November 12, 2022
10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)