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Ernest E. McCray, Jr.

posted Sep 3, 2020, 8:45 AM by Sapona District   [ updated Sep 3, 2020, 8:45 AM ]
Captain Ernest E. McCray, Jr. (Retired Captain of the Salisbury Fire Department), 85, of Salisbury, N.C. peacefully passed away Monday, March 11, 2019 at The Laurels of Salisbury. Born in Salisbury, he was the son of the late Ernest E. McCray, Sr. and Wendlian Moore McCray Moss. He was the step-son of the late Grady E. Moss, Sr. In addition to his parents, Ernest was preceded in death by his brother, Grady E. Moss, Jr. and a niece, Miss Karina Moss. Ernest was a graduate of J. C. Price High School, where his talents in football earned him the title of “Mr. Touchdown.” He was inducted into the Price High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007; honored by the City of Salisbury Schools for Football Championships in 2012; and inducted into the Salisbury-Rowan Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. While attending North Carolina Central University, Ernest received the draft and joined the United States Navy. He served ten years in the Navy. During this time, Ernest received a commendation for saving the life of a fellow ship-mate aboard the USS Chara (AKA-58), the China Services Medal, National Defense Service Medal and was also named “Sailor of the Month.” Some of Ernest's civic awards were: Human Society Award for the Rescue of Animals; Optimist of the Year; Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; Optimist Presidential Award of Rowan County; and the Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County “Construction Volunteer of the Year” Award. Ernest was a dedicated member of Soldiers Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church of Salisbury. He organized a Boy Scout Troop and served as its first Scoutmaster. Faithfully serving in various positions at the church, Ernest most loved working with and serving the children of the Zion Hills ministry. The church awarded him the “Outstanding Dedication and Support” Men's Day Award in 2013. In 2005, Ernest was featured in an article in the Salisbury Post entitled “Mr. Touchdown – End Zone McCray's Home.” He was also honored with a feature display at the Rowan Museum as the first Black Officer of the Salisbury Fire Department. Ernest also served as Vice-President of Pete-Earl-Bea, Inc., a family owned business. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 57 years, Frances M. McCray; two sons, Ernest “Pete” McCray, III (U.S. Army - Ret) and William McCray, Sr. (Shanna); one daughter, Wendy McKie (Herman); a sister-in-law, Shirley Moss; seven grandchildren; a host of nephews, nieces and cousins; God-children, Rev. Emily Rivers, Robyn Rivers, and Ebony Rivers-Boyd; family- in-Christ, Tom, Evelyn and Matthew Lowman; and his comrades of the Salisbury Fire Department.

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.