William Clay Grayson
August 22, 1940 – September 11, 2020
On September 11, 2020 our family lost its beloved father, Pepa, father-n-law and friend to COVID. We believe he is now reunited with his parents, brother, sister, wife, daughter, God and many other friends and family from his 80 years of living. Bill was born on August 22, 1940 and spent most of his childhood in Danville, IL. When Bill was young, his parents hit hard times and he, his brother Pete and his sister Norma Jean spent several years in the local orphanage. Always someone who looked at the bright side, he rarely talked about the horrible food at the orphanage, he instead talked about how much he loved Sunday visits from his Dad and the hotdogs they’d enjoy during their time together or how he and his brother would sneak out, follow the rail road tracks to the river for a late afternoon swim with other boys from town. In the 1960s, not long after Bill turned 19, he joined the Army and was sent straight to the Panama Canal. At the time, there was unrest, looting and riots but Bill never spoke of that. He only recalled the makeshift Zoo he and his comrades created to care for the local injured wildlife. He particularly loved to recall how he’d welcome new recruits with his pet python and how he scared one young man so badly he had to call his mother in tears. Bill was quite the prankster. After returning from Panama, Bill met the love of his life, Carolyn Petit. The story goes…. while out cruising one evening he noticed 2 women walking along….just talking. One in particular caught his eye, so he decided to stop to see if she might be interested in going out with him sometime. She was, they did, and 5 kids and 53 years later they were still happily married, until her passing in 2015. After Carolyn’s passing, he spent many long hours admiring his favorite picture of her. It was taken while she was wearing a beautiful emerald green dress he bought her for Christmas many years ago. He loved how the dress brought out the blue of her eyes. He’d often say “A man ain’t nothing without a good woman”. Carolyn was his “good woman”. They had a good life and spent many happy years square dancing, attending their sons wrestling events, hosting the great grandkids for weeks during the summer, and supporting their local church where Bill was a member of the Knights of Columbus. Bill was a Boilermaker for over 45 years and was known to his fellow teammates as “Turtle”. Not because he was slow, but because he was in charge of organizing the weekly turtle races. Best known as the guy who’d sign up all the men (and their turtles) collect the bets and distribute the winnings – on race night, Turtle was a popular guy. He’d always say “Behave, if you don’t, have fun!” And fun he had! Bill was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Nancy, his siblings Pete and Norma Jean, his wife of over 53 years Carolyn, and his daughter Jeanette. He is survived by his sons, William “Boomer” and Robert; daughter-n-laws, Rita and Dore;his brother-n-law, Raymond “Butch”; his sister in-law, Diana; his grandchildren Mandy, Kindra, Kortney, Austi, Garret, Lauren, Madison, Tanith, Dwain, Johnny and Christa; 17 great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life will be held November 27, 2020 at eleven o'clock in the morning in the chapel of White Funeral and Cremation Service- Bolivia. Fellowship with catering will follow in the funeral home's Event Room. In lieu of flowers, the family ask that donations be made in Bill’s name to the Alzheimer Association or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which was Carolyn’s favorite charity.
Celebration of Life
William Clay Grayson
September 15, 2020
I was blessed to meet Bill about 3 years ago. As soon as I met him, we became friends. We just seemed to hit it off. Whenever I came to visit, he always had a big smile and a hug just for me. He became a grandfather figure to my daughter, which he nicknamed "French Fry". Bill would often tell me to "Behave, if you don't, have fun". I'm sure he is having "Lots of Fun" today with his wife Carolyn in Heaven. He will be greatly missed, but the good ones have to go sometime. ❤
September 12, 2020
I will forever cherish memories with my Pepa. I will always remeber going out to Mississippi for a week during summer vacation. I really enjoyed those visits with Mema and Pepa. Mema would always cook up some amazing meals, but I remeber beef and noodles was Pepa's favorite. It was my favorite too. After dinner, I would always hang out with Pepa in the kitchen while he did the dishes. I remember him always calling Mema "Mama." He always said "Mama does all the cooking, so it's my job to do the dishes." When Mema wasn't cooking up something spectacular in the kitchen, Pepa and I would sometimes make mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs. It was one of his favorites and it's still a favorite of mine to this day.
I also have fond memories of Pepa coming out to visit me a few years back on the week of Thanksgiving. We had the best time. We played bingo, decorated for Christmas, and even snuck out to one of his favorite spots...Texas Roadhouse.
What I will miss most about Pepa is simply his presence. He was a simple man who loved the company of others, and he made the world a brighter much happier place. I will never let his memory fade. He wasn't just "grandpa" he was much more than that. His name was PEPA. He was not only a Pepa to me, he was one of my very best friends.
September 12, 2020
Bill and Carolyn were the best neighbors ever. The 1st day we moved in Carolyn was by the big tree between our houses. She asked us it okay to put the yellow ribbon around the tree! I said yes and helped as it was a very large tree. We introduced ourselves and Bill too and she told me her son Rob was deployed during Desert Storm 1990. We are blessed to know the family, as Mema and Pepa treated us like family! I know they are dancing together right now. To honor Bill, "Damn right I'm a Turtle"