William Lee Crays, 45, of Holt, FL, formerly of Litchfield, died unexpectedly on Nov. 13, 2021, at North Okalossa Medical Center in Florida.
Visitation will be Saturday, Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. until time of the service at Hough and Sons Funeral Home in Hillsboro. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Burial, with full military rites, will be in Elmwood Cemetery in Litchfield.
Hough and Sons Funeral Home will be transporting the remains of Master Sergeant Crays from Lambert Airport in St. Louis back to the funeral home in Hillsboro on Wednesday, Nov. 24. With the support of the Patriot Guard, the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement, it is anticipated that Hough and Sons will be leaving the airport at 5 p.m. and travel up interstate 55 to Illinois Route 16 east. Those wishing to honor Sergeant Crays are encouraged to do so.
Mr. Crays was born April 3, 1976, the son of Jackie Lee and Bernice (Smith) Crays. He married Blaire Michelle Murray on August 5, 2020, in Hopewell, VA.
Mr. Crays was a graduate of Hillsboro High School. He joined the Army National Guard in 1995, serving eight years. He then joined Dobrinich Construction, but rejoined the Army in 2008. He served on five deployments to Afghanistan and one to South Korea. Sergeant First Class Crays was an Army parachute rigger in the 7th Special Forces group (Airborne). His duty was air drop operations NCO. He recently had re-enlisted on July 1, 2021, and following his passing he was promoted to Master Sergeant. He earned several awards and decorations in his time in the Army. Mr. Crays also enjoyed spending time with his family, loved to sing karaoke, ride his Harley, play guitar and go to breweries to try different beers.
Mr. Crays is survived by his wife, Blaire; daughter, Bailey Paige Crays; step-children, Lily Michelle LeMay and Layden Dan LeMay; granddaughter Marley Paige Chance; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; grandfather Richard Smith, grandmother Helen Cravens; great-grandfather William Cravens; and great-grandmother Edna Cravens.
Memorials can be directed to Blaire Crays. Condolences can be left online at www.houghfuneralhome.com.