Bill F. Ray, a lifelong resident of Licking, MO, was born February 19, 1932 to Sanford Dawson Ray and Ulla Victoria Ray (nee Taylor). He was intended to be William Franklin Ray, but the attending physician decided to write Bill F. Ray on the birth certificate, so Bill he was.
Bill’s maternal grandfather, Franklin Williams Taylor was pastor of Boone Creek Baptist Church, where Bill’s mother was the faithful pianist. The Rays were early settlers in Texas County; Bill’s paternal grandfather, William Ray, drove the mail from Rolla to Willow Springs on a horse and buggy. Both families were originally farmers on land granted by the U.S. presidents in the 19th century.
Bill attended Licking Grade School and Licking High School, graduating in 1950. He attended Southwest Missouri State College, and was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. After his freshman year, he was drafted into the Army, and served in Korea.
After his service in Korea, he joined his father, uncle –Alba W. Ray, Sr.-and cousin- Alba W. Ray, Jr. in the Ray Chevrolet Company. Later, he started other businesses including a Standard Oil Distributorship and a package store, as well as building the Tarry Inn Motel.
While at the Chevy Agency, he married Norma Jean Ware, daughter of Clyde and Evelyn Ware.
Bill was an honest and trustworthy businessman, who was always willing to help others in times of need.
He is survived by his daughter, Terry Dawson & husband Steve; his two grandchildren, Derek Dawson & his wife Reta, and Stefanie (Dawson) King & husband Ammon; three great grandchildren Taylor Dawson, Zoey Dawson and Jake Dawson; his loving sister, Martha Lou Ray Sweeney and brother-in-law, Floyd L. Sweeney, and their three daughters.
Bill passed peacefully March 17, 2018 in his home.
Private services were held with Pastor Maggie Kramer officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s name may be made to Phelps County Regional Hospice.