Ernest E. McCray Jr.
{ "" }
Share Ernest's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
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. Visitation & Service: The family will receive friends from 11:15 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Soldiers Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church. Funeral service will follow at 1:00 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Derrick Anderson officiating. The Salisbury Fire Department will honor Captain McCray with the Firefighter's Prayer and Ceremony. Interment will follow at Rowan Memorial Park with Graveside Military Rites conducted by the US Navy and Rowan County Veterans Honor Guards. Memorials: Memorials may be made to Soldiers Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church, 306 North Church Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 or Rowan County Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 3356, Salisbury, NC 28145. Summersett Funeral Home is serving the McCray family. Online condolences may be made at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Salisbury Post from Mar. 13 to Mar. 14, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
24 entries
March 20, 2019
My condolences to your family. May your many memories and loving words comfort family and friends during this time and days ahead (Isaiah 57:15)
March 20, 2019
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Doris P Jomes
March 19, 2019
Earnest exemplified and lived the qualities most admired and respected in men. Devoted and dependable to his work, his family and his friends, he was trusted and respected by all who knew him. Captain McCray showed us what a man should be and I am proud and fortunate to have known and worked with him.
Rest in peace my good friend.
Sam Brady
March 17, 2019
Sending our deepest condolences to the Family.
LaKeya Kincaid
March 16, 2019
To Frances and The Family;
Our prayers are with you during this time of sorrow. Ernest, Mr. McCray, will always be rembered as a fine and loving husband, father, etc. We do not only mourn, but celebrate the life and transitition of your love one.

Sincerely in the love of Christ Jesus,
Carolyn Cook-Keah and the Cook Girls
Carolyn Keah
March 15, 2019
Living Spirit Dishgarden
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Cheryl Green
March 15, 2019
To the McCray family and my dear friend Wendy, I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences. May Mr. McCray rest peacefully and may the family be comforted.
Tanya Lucas
March 15, 2019
Soldier Salute Standing Spray
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Carlos Bates
March 15, 2019
Peace be still...
My heartfelt condolences go out to the family. I will surely miss the presence of a truly kind MAN, Ernest Emerald McCray, Jr.
Maurice Rouse
March 15, 2019
When someone we love falls asleep in death the memories we have of them become our treasure, may those cherished memories of a life well lived and Gods promise at John 6:40 bring you a measure of peace and comfort during this most difficult time. My deepest condolences to the family.
March 15, 2019
To the McCray family, I had the privilege and honor of being assigned to Capt. McCray in 1981. Fresh out of high school and probably the youngest firefighter to be assigned to Capt. McCray, I didn't know what to expect in my first career job. He had expectations for me and he helped me to meet them. He was adamant about knowing city streets and hydrant locations if you wanted to be a driver. Often quizzing you on streets locations but then identifying the person that lived there. He had such a great knowledge of the citizens. I remember him asking me, "Junior, where is the 700 block of McCubbins St.?" A nightly ritual when we worked night shift, he would eat his supper at the back table and then walk over to the watch room to check on the guys sitting in the watch room helping the dispatcher. Expected to see a map and you studying it. If that wasn't happening, he would just stand at the door with his hands crossed and his index finger to his chin looking outside and not saying a word. You knew what that meant.
A short time later, I was promoted to Captain and worked beside Capt. McCray as the ladder captain. I was having a bad day when we joined his crew from some pump training. Something happened to me that brought a big smile to his face and made the day better.
He was a humble man. Not one to speak of his accomplishment, I learned of his rescue in the Navy from someone else because he never talked about it and his sports accomplishments were read about in the paper.
A family man who worked hard to support his family and provide a better life for them.
A mentor to many who served with him in the fire department.
I knew of his health status and last talked to him at a retirement at the fire station. We hugged and he asked, "Junior, how is the family?" I was concerned that maybe he wouldn't remember but he did.
A great man that is truly a man of honor who has touched the lives of so many people. Rest Easy Capt. McCray.

Todd Overcash
March 14, 2019
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Sakisbury Chapter Winston Salem State University National Alumni Association
March 14, 2019
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
J C Price National Alumni
March 14, 2019
A great man who led a strong and beautiful family. My respect to you Sir and my love to Mrs. McCray and the family.
Kenneth L. Hardin
March 14, 2019
Mrs. McCray and Family,
My sincerest condolences as face today and the days ahead. Hold fast to God, family, friends and fond memories. No one can ever take away the love or the precious memories forever etched in your hearts. Keep the faith and be encouraged!
Yours in HIS service,
Tangy Roseborough
March 14, 2019
Comfort Planter
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
a loved one
March 14, 2019
Carson foster
March 14, 2019
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
J C Price High School Hall of Fame
March 13, 2019
My first Captain. Was a true leader and was always there for his men. You will not be forgotten. RIP Cap.
March 13, 2019
My first Captain and a true leader. I will miss you my friend.
Arthur Delaney
March 13, 2019
Brother Mac,
May our Lord bless and confort you
and your family during this time of grief. Please accept our condolence.

Truth Baptist Church
Truth Baptist Church Members
March 13, 2019
My all time favorite Captain. A role model and a mentor. 511 quarters complete. You will be remembered forever by some very many. God Bless all that knew and loved him.
Scott a.k.a Bob Hatley
March 13, 2019
I have known the McCray family all of my life and they each hold a special place in my heart. My mother and Francis worked together at South school in Mooresville NC for around 25 years. She has always been like a mother to me. I just wanted to let all of you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Ernest was was of the most gentle souls I have ever met. My God bless and keep you.
William Major
March 13, 2019
a great man will truly be missed by so many. RIP Cap.
larry craver
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences