William R. Cray Jr.

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DEERFIELD - A memorial service for Retired State Police Maj. William R. Cray Jr. will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Deerfield Town Hall.

Cray died Sept. 7, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., according to Paul O'Leary, retired commander of state police.

"He was respected for doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time," O'Leary said.

On July 1, 1960, Cray was appointed to State Police and assigned to patrol in the then-Troop B area in Rockingham County. He was an assistant on former Gov. Wesley Powell's security detail.

In 1965, following the Hampton Beach riot that nearly destroyed the popular beachfront, then-Gov. John W. King ordered then-Col. Joseph L. Regan to form an elite unit to take up full-time residence at the beach for the summer season to restore order. He served for three years until the unit was disbanded.

"Above the knowledge, skill, ability and courage it takes to be an outstanding trooper, Bill Cray had something else that in my book put him a cut about the rest - genuineness and sincerity," O'Leary said.

In 1968, Cray was one of five troopers selected for a unit assigned to the Inaugural Parade of President Richard M. Nixon.

Cray organized and was the first commander of the present day SWAT unit in 1971 and was involved with the apprehension of an escaped bank robber and murderer in Hooksett.

Cray was in a command position at every major State Police operation, including disturbances at the state prison, major demonstrations at the Seabrook nuclear plant, and at the annual Weirs Beach motorcycle events. During four presidential primary campaigns, he coordinated the State Police dignitary protection operations.

He graduated in the 90th session of FBI National Police Academy in l972 and from Babson School of Law Enforcement Management.

When O'Leary assumed command of State Police in January of 1982, he promoted Cray to major in command of all field operations, making him the third ranking officer before he retired in August of 1987 after 27 years of service.

He was a member of the State Police Benevolent Association, New Hampshire Retired State Troopers Association, New Hampshire Police Association, New Hampshire Retired Law Enforcement Officers Association, and Rockingham County Law Enforcement Association.

He leaves his wife, Kathy (Bailey) Cray. They had lived at Chichester before moving to Tucson five years ago. He had resided in Deerfield, Kingston, and Chichester during his State Police service.

Maj. Cray was born July 3, 1934 in Boston, to the late William R. Cray, Sr. and Evelyn (Monahan) Cray. He grew up in Saugus, Mass., and was a 1953 graduate of Saugus High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the military police.

Published in Union Leader on Oct. 3, 2013
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