Rodney H. McCray, 63, a lifelong resident of Arcadia, Fla., passed away Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.
He was born May 16, 1949, to Henry and Norma Carver McCray.
Rodney didn’t have the easiest of childhoods, but found peace and security within the home of Juril and Madelon Mansfield. Although he admits to not being the best of students, he graduated from DeSoto High. Rodney grew up exposed to DeSoto County, Fla.’s cowboys and ranchers, and embraced the cowboy way of life, even riding bulls along the way. He took from experience and learned from example what it meant to be a gentleman.
Rodney’s enlistment in the U.S. Army landed him two tours of active duty in Vietnam. A time of his life he was neither proud nor ashamed of, Rodney’s tours of duty earned him a Purple Heart Medal, an Army Commendation medal, a Combat Infantryman Badge, a Drill Sergeant Crest, a Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Vietnam Service Ribbon and a National Defense Service Ribbon. He retired as a working foreman for FPL after 24 years of employment. When asked what Rodney was most proud of in his life, his answer was clear and simple, his family — his undying love for his soulmate and wife of 38 years, Debbie, his sons, Matthew and Samuel, and their families. Rodney was a proud provider, a man of his word, a loving grandpa, and a friend to so many. He enjoyed fishing with his sons and grandchildren, sharing stories and telling jokes. Rodney was a lifetime member of the Vietnam Veterans Association, the VFW, the DeSoto County Historical Society, the voice of Bulldogs football, a 32nd degree Mason/Worshipful Master, and a musician.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Debra McCray of Arcadia; sons, Matthew (Christina) McCray and Samuel (Stacy) McCray of Arcadia; brother, Dale (Shirley) McCray of Winter Haven, Fla.; stepbrother, Buddy (Sandy) Mansfield of Arcadia; stepparents, Juril and Madelon Mansfield of Arcadia; and grandchildren, Sierra, Skyler, Sage, Lauren, Olivia and Riley. Rodney was preceded in death by Norma and Henry McCray; brother, Henry McCray; sisters, Norma Jean and Carolyn McCray, and Sheila Valverda; and stepsister, Linda Mansfield.
A visitation will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home in Arcadia. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at the funeral home, followed by burial at Joshua Creek Cemetery. Online condolences can be made at www.pongerkaysgradyfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home, Arcadia.