God only knows what we’d be without you.♥
A family man with a gentle spirit, (Earl) Ray Willey passed on March 21, and a graveside service was held at Fair
Oaks Cemetery. Ray’s many contributions to our community will be honored at a Celebration of Life to be announced
when we can safely gather.
The son of Earl and Stella Willey, he was born in 1940 and grew up in Seattle. After moving to Sacramento, Ray
graduated from El Camino High and American River College, and served in the California Air National Guard for six
He began his 36-year career with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in 1965, and worked his way up from
meter reader to Manager of SMUD’s Load Management Program. While working full-time, Ray earned a B.S. in
Accounting from CSU, Sacramento, and later a Teaching Credential from National University.
After retiring from SMUD in 2000, Ray taught GED classes and evaluated special needs students for San Juan
Unified School District for 15 years. He was honored as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the California
Council for Adult Education in 2002.
Young at heart, Ray and his wife Shirley (Way) always celebrated their first date to see the Beach Boys at the
Memorial Auditorium—55 years ago! They married on June 26, 1966 and lived in Carmichael, and were incredibly
proud of their daughters, Sharon and Alyson Willey.
Ray was way ahead of his time as an involved father and never missed a field trip, marching band performance,
softball game or painful violin concert. He shared his love of sports with his daughters and took them to see the
Niners and Giants, while coaching them to soar academically and give back to the community.
The family grew with son-in-law Stephen Morairty, his oldest daughter Annastasia and the Morairty Family. Ray was
overjoyed to become a grandfather to Alexandra and Isabella, Sharon and Stephen’s lovely daughters. He was by
their side for all 23 birthday parties in the Bay Area, and cheered them on at soccer, softball, taekwondo and ballet
recitals. Like both daughters, Ray’s granddaughters absolutely adored him, as did their dear family friend Brenda
Ray leaves a legacy of lifetime community service, including giving gallons to the blood bank, leading countless
school and fund-raising events, supporting Women’s Empowerment and most notably, as a champion of Special
Olympians. In 2010 Ray was honored with a commemorative bench at Orange Grove School for his selfless devotion
to coaching special needs athletes for nearly a quarter of a century.
On the day before his 79 th birthday last October, Ray took his daughters and son-in-law to Levi Stadium. His family
arranged for him to meet Bryant Young, 49ers legend, on the field, giving him one of the thrills of his life. And the
A man of faith, Ray attended St. Mel Catholic Church for decades. In addition to home visits by church members, the
Willey Family would like to thank Dignity Health caregivers, friends and yes, God for the privilege of sharing so many
golden times together.
Ray will be remembered for his kindness, love of laughter, volunteerism, work ethic and devotion to family and
friends. In lieu of flowers, please donate a pint of blood in Ray’s memory or give to the American Cancer Society,
Women’s Empowerment or KVIE.. Interment at Fair Oaks District Cemetery. PRICE FUNERAL CHAPEL (916-725-2109), directors.
To plant a tree in memory of Ray Willey Jr., please visit our tribute store.