William “Bill” Claude Ray of Laurel suddenly passed away early Saturday morning, Dec. 31, 2022 while at home surrounded by his loving family. William is survived by his wife Elizabeth, his son Theodore and daughter-in-law Maria, as well as his sister Norma and brother Stanly. He was born in Santa Monica, Ca., and spent most of his life in the San Fernando Valley before moving to Laurel with his family nearly 11 years ago. He retired in 2014 as an owner of New England Tea & Bean LLC., which was located in Georgetown.

Bill graduated from Cleveland High School and later attended Los Angeles Pierce College. While in high school he was a member of the cross country team and the printer of the school newspaper. He attended the same schools as his two brothers. His sister Norma attended Reseda High School. While going to school, Bill worked for his father’s business as a beekeeper. After graduating from high school William enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After a security clearance was processed he was assigned to the position of radio operator.

After honorably completing his military contract he returned to school. Shortly after attending college he met the love of his life Elizabeth J. Hurst. William met Elizabeth through mutual friends from high school. After a brief courtship they decided to elope and get married in Las Vegas. Bill and Elizabeth would have celebrated their 53rd anniversary on January 18, 2023. Bill and Elizabeth frequently traveled across the nation and Canada together. The couple had spent nearly every moment of everyday together since their retirement eight years ago having fun and enjoying their golden years together.

Bill was an entrepreneur and keenly intelligent in his field. During his school years he studied architecture, but later discovered the joy of traveling while earning a living. Bill joined the teamsters while working at local moving companies around the Los Angeles area, but would move on to be an owner/operator providing transportation and moving services. Bill provided the highest quality of service to his customers and partnering companies. He was recognized and awarded several professional accolades from multiple transportation and moving companies for his dedication and quality of service. In 2013, Bill decided to sell his transportation business and invest in a start-up coffee shop and eatery with his family in Delaware. The business was a success and he enjoyed working with his wife, daughter-in-law, and son everyday at the shop. He’d decide to retire in 2014, and enjoy the beauty that Sussex County Delaware has to offer.

Bill was raised a Mormon and later became an Evangelical Pentecostal Christian at the Church on the Way, a four square church in Van Nuys, Ca. Upon moving to Delaware, Bill and his family began attending the Victory Tabernacle located in Laurel. His faith in God and Christ as his Lord and Savior was deep and he demonstrated his faith and commitment to God’s word through his actions of love with those around him.

Bill has joined his mother Olive and father Claude, grandson Joseph William Theodore, older brother Gilbert, and in-laws William and Aline Hurst, as well as many aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and several other relatives and friends in heaven. Although it is difficult for those of us who remain here on earth without him, we know he is in the Lord’s blissful love and peace for eternity. As stated in the Lord’s scripture: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NKJV. Amen!).

He will be remembered for his excellent sense of humor, hard work, and loyalty. Moreover, he’s remembered for his unconditional love and support for family, friends, and neighbors. William will be deeply missed by his wife, son and daughter-in-law, his brother and sister, and countless nephews and nieces across the United States and Mexico. William will remain with us all in our hearts and minds forever.

A viewing was held on Friday, Jan. 6 at the Victory Tabernacle Church in Laurel. The funeral service took place at the church with Pastor Stacey Johnson officiating. Interment was held on Monday, Jan. 9 at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hsdfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are in the care of the Hannigan, Short, Disharoon Funeral Home in Laurel.