William L. Crays, 45
William L. Crays of Holt, FL, formerly of Litchfield, died while serving on active duty 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.
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 once 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.
The Flagman's Mission Continues
Their mission is simple: when a hero goes down, the flags go up. On Friday, November 26, organizers with the Flagman's Mission and other local volunteers placed 2,000 American flags from Hough Funeral Home in Hillsboro to Elmwood Cemetery in Litchfield, the final resting place of Master Sergeant William Crays. The patriotic display ran along Illinois Route 16 in memory of Cray's, who was a graduate of Hillsboro High School. Flags were taken down on Sunday, November 28.
For more information on the Flagman's Mission please visit their website:
Photos provided by: Jeff Hastings & Colleen Callan