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Remembering the Life of Dr. Ellis Ray Williams, Sr.

Dr. Ellis Ray Williams, Sr., 100, answered God’s call to come home on Monday, July 04, 2022. He was born in Newberry, SC on October 17, 1921, to the late Reverend William Williams and Mrs. Mattie Louise Deas Singley Williams.

The family moved to Gary, WV in 1928 where he attended Gary Adkins District Elementary School, Gary District Junior High School, and graduated from Gary District High School in 1940. Ellis Ray’s academic and athletic talents were recognized early and continued at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, WV where he played football and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in English and Social Studies.

While at Bluefield State, he joined Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and was an active member for over 80 years. He earned a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Industrial Education from West Virginia University, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Education from Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA.

At the age of 97, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Letters from West Virginia University.  Dr. Williams entered the United States Army Enlisted Reserve Corp in 1942 and assumed active duty in May 1943. Following completion of combat training, Ellis Ray entered the WW II European Theatre in August 1944 serving with the distinguished 777th Field Artillery Battalion, 9th army as a Tech 5, C Battery forward observer radio operator. He faced combat duty including campaigns of the Roer Valley, Rhine River, and Battle of the Bulge.  

A member of St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Ellis Ray served in various positions over the years including deacon, Sunday school teacher, co-director of education, and bible study instructor.  
He enjoyed a career spanning over 40 years as an educator with the McDowell County Board of Education as a classroom teacher and coach, and as principal of Elkhorn Junior High School. He also taught and coached in the Wyoming County school system, was an adjunct instructor in sociology with Bluefield State College, a mining instructor with the West Virginia Department of Interior, and an Adult Education Transitions instructor with the West Virginia Community Action Directors Association. 

The last of his siblings, Dr. Williams was preceded in death by two sisters Hattie Barron and Mamie Lee Brown; and four brothers Robert Singley, John Singley, William C. “Khaki” Williams, and James Williams; and his parents.  

Ellis Ray was married to the late Christine Neal Williams (BSC class of 1944) for 72 years. Together they raised and educated seven children: Ellis Ray Williams, Jr. (Audramae), Frances C. Pernell (Leroy), Patricia Williams Hairston, Billye J. Sanford, Ronald C. Williams (Cyndi), Sandra G. Williams, and John E. Williams.

Also remaining to celebrate his life and legacy are 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Imogene Neal Trapp, brother-in-law John Harvey Neal, Sr. (Mary), and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends. 

A Celebration of Life Service was held at 11:15 a.m., on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at Bluefield State University Brown-Gilbert Basic Science Building Auditorium, Holbrook Street in Bluefield, WV.  The Reverend William R. Spencer presiding and the Reverend Doctor Ronald C. Williams eulogist.  Family time at 10:30 a.m.,  and KA Chapter Invisible Ceremony at 11:00 a.m.  Viewing on Friday, July 15, 2022, 4:00 -7:00 p.m., at the Auditorium and one hour prior to Service on Saturday. 

Entombment on Saturday at Restlawn Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. 6605 New Hope Road in Bluewell, WV, where military burial rites were be conducted by Mercer County Veterans Honor Guard.  Services entrusted to Gregory-Page Funeral Home in Welch. 

In lieu of flowers, the Family has requested donations may be submitted to:  Annapolis Kappa Scholarship Foundation, Inc.  P.O. Box 628 Gambrills, MD  21054-0628.