Ellis Ray Wilson passed away peacefully on October 3, 2020 after an amazing life spanning 97 years. He was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina on September 4, 1923, as the second of eleven children to Robah McKinley Wilson and Maude Ellen Frye. Ray was preceded in death by his wife of forty years, Betty Lorraine Davis Wilson, and all his siblings except his youngest sister Audrey Vaughn of Florida.
Ray was a generous soul who never failed to provide help to a friend or family member in need. He was a devoted father to his daughters Judy Mayfield of Spotsylvania, Virginia, and Jackie Barile of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and a loving granddaddy to Dawn (Ken) White, Greg (Jodi) Mayfield, David (Krissy) Barile and Frank Barile. His seven great grandchildren will dearly miss his gentle nature, infectious chuckle and words of wisdom, such as “can’t never could do nothing” or “everyone else on the road is a damn fool but you.”
Ray also leaves behind his dear companion of more than 30 years, Vicki Lavin, and her daughters and grandchildren, who became his second family. Vicki was his loving and tireless caregiver, for which his family will be forever grateful.
In 1940, Ray left Winston Salem for the first time to join the U.S. Marine Corps at just 17 years old (claiming to be 18) and served in the Pacific during World War II. Upon returning from the war, he transitioned to civil service at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. He retired from his position as a Supervisor at Base Motor Transport after a 40-year career.
Ray dearly enjoyed gardening, woodworking, playing cards, bouncing babies on his knee, raising his hunting dogs, and teaching his daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren how to shoot a BB gun, shotgun or bow in the backyard. Most mornings in retirement, he could be found walking at the mall and chatting with friends over coffee at the local fast food restaurant. He volunteered with Meals on Wheels and for Onslow County Senior Services doing home repair for those seniors in need.
A graveside service will be held at Onslow Memorial Park on Wednesday, October 14 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
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