Ernest “Ray” Williams, 79, passed away on Tuesday May 26, 2020. While Dad was born in Roanoke and called it home his entire life, he also traveled the world over with a sense of joy and curiosity. He is survived by his wife and partner Susan Burks Williams to whom he was married for 53 years; children, Dr. Trenor Williams and his wife Sara, Adam Williams and his wife Dr. Talena Williams; his sister Kay Moore and her children Zak and Ben, his brother Andy and his wife Miranda and their children Stephen and Effie; his best friend of 59 years Dan Owen; grandchildren, Emma, Charlotte, Tyson and Stella; second sons, Jamie Marraccini and Dr. Matt Lambert, and as well as every child who responded to his deep belly laugh and easy smile. As he explores the cosmos, Dad joins his mother Eunice “Gaga/Nana” Quisenberry, his father Ernie Williams, his stepfather Jimmy Quisenberry and his brother-in-law Danny Moore.
When you think of Ray Williams, remember his laugh, remember his smile, the twinkle in his eye and know that he loved you. Easier, when you think of Ray Williams, think of love. Pop enjoyed people so much he made a career out of making others happy. From bar owner, restaurant manager, Safari aficionado, hotel proprietor, wedding photographer and everything in between, Dad’s life work was to make anyone smile. Always a favorite at Christmas, he would delight kids from 8 to 80 as the most believable Santa to visit Roanoke. As a Father, Dad excelled at letting his family know how much he loved us. He said the words, “I love you” so often and with such ease in a house full of boys that it continues to be a lesson we practice every day.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for any of the following:
1) Called Dad, Pop or E’Ray he loved helping those less fortunate and would give the shirt off his back for anyone in need. Now, more than ever, we are surrounded by people who need a little help, please consider a donation in his memory to the Southwest Virginia Food Bank: https://www.feedingswva.org
2) Support a local business by enjoying the Ray Williams Sirloin at Ippy’s in Rocky Mount
3) Buy a drink or dinner for a stranger next time you’re at the bar
or Ernest (Ray) X ( ) Williams Jr..