Ray E. McGill

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Ray Edward McGill, 96, of Winston, Ga., formerly of McGregor and Prairie du Chien, Wis., passed away on Oct. 21, 2022.


Ray was born on Sept. 13, 1926, to Ray Wallace McGill and Nellie May Pettit McGill at their farm near McGregor. His mother and family called him Bud. The name stayed with him until adult life.


His mother died suddenly on July 14, 1930, at the age of 32. Ray was only 3.5 years old at the time.


This was during the Great Depression and Ray’s father lost his farm and was unable to work and care for his family. Four of Ray’s sisters, Nellie Frances, Kathryn Bernice, Hazel Lavonne and June Ellen, were placed in the state orphanage in Davenport. The oldest sister, Marguerite Virginia, was married at the time. Ray’s aunt and uncle, Leo and Catherine McGill, raised him with their children on the Riverview Dairy Farm near Marquette. Ray attended school at the Pleasant Ridge Grammar School and Marquette High School.


Ray left the farm in 1942 at the age of 16 and joined his sister, Kathryn, in Milwaukee, Wis. He worked as a machinist at Cassell Engineering and Machine Works, making parts for the U.S. Navy. In late 1944, at the age of 18, Ray was drafted into the Army as an infantry soldier. He was trained at Fort McClellan, Ala. After completion of training, Ray went back to Milwaukee, Wis., on a 10-day furlough before continuing to his duty assignment.


Ray’s sister Kathryn notified the adoptive mother of sister June Ellen of the whereabouts of the children of Ray Wallace McGill. June Ellen’s name was changed to Madeline Ralston. Mrs. Ralston arranged for a sibling reunion at Kathryn’s home in Milwaukee. This would be a true reunion for the Ray W. McGill family. The sisters and Ray had been separated for 15 years.


After his furlough, Ray continued his World War II Army assignment in the Pacific Theater and performed duties in the Philippine Islands. His tour of duty lasted nearly two years. He returned to the states in October 1946.


After World War II, Staff Sergeant McGill was released from military duty at Fort Sheridan, Ill.


He returned to Milwaukee, where he was employed by Du-Well Machine Shop. His duties were operating lathes, drill presses, milling machines and punch presses. In 1947, Ray moved to Prairie du Chien, Wis. He worked for the Ahrens Dairy Farm processing milk, cream and cottage cheese.


He also worked at Bagley, Wis., in the cheese factory making American cheddar cheese. Later on, he started his own business distributing milk from Elm Grove Dairy in Richland Center, Wis. He also introduced Borden Dairy products to Prairie du Chien, Wis.


Ray and Grace Josephine Barrette, daughter of Roland and Emma Barrette, were married Feb. 10, 1951, at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, in Prairie du Chien, Wis.


Ray had joined the Air Force Reserves and was recalled for active duty during the Korean Conflict. After the two-year tour of duty, Ray and Grace made the family decision that Ray would reenlist in the Air Force and make it their career. Ray, Grace and their sons spent several years at many different locations in the United States, including two years in Hawaii. The family also spent three years in Okinawa, Japan.


In addition, during Ray’s active duty in the Army and Air Force career, he spent time in the Philippine Islands, Iceland, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Senior Master Sergeant Ray McGill retired after 23 years of service in the United States Army and Air Force.


After retirement from the military, Ray formed a company, McGill Construction Service, Inc. The company’s focus was building homes and performing interior woodworking. Ray worked with his sons in this endeavor.


He was a member of the American Legion, The Retired Enlisted Association and Air Force Association. He supported St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and many other foundations seeking to find cures of life threatening deceases.


He was loved and will be fondly remembered by many friends, relatives and all who knew him.


He is survived by sons and daughters-in-law Kelly and Dale McGill, Villa Rica, Ga.; Terry and Pam McGill, Dallas, Ga.; Edward and Priscilla McGill, Douglasville, Ga.; and Kevin and Christy McGill, Douglasville, Ga.; son Glenn McGill, Winston, Ga.; daughter-in-law, Sue McGill; seven grandchildren, Jamey, Shawn, Josh, Katie, Courtney, Landon and Keaton; and eight great-grandchildren.


He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Grace Josephine Barrette McGill; infant son Daniel Ray; son Timothy L. McGill; parents Ray W. and Nellie Petitt McGill; sisters Marguerite Virginia McGill Barker, Nellie Frances McGill Berka, Hazel Lavonne McGill Wright, Kathryn Bernice McGill Sedlmayr and Madeline Ralston Webster.


Family received friends at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home in Douglasville, Ga., on Oct. 27. The family held a private funeral mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church. The inurnment will take place at a later date. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Messages of condolences may be sent to the family at www.jones-wynn.com.

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