Dr. Lee Edward Rayford

November 24, 1935February 17, 2021
Play Tribute Movie

Lee Rayford was born to be Lord of the Manor. He took meticulous care of the women in his life: Billie, Vickie, Celese, Billie’s Alpha Kappa Alpha ladies, his ladies at Doolittle Senior Center, and every friend who touched the life of his family. Ever the quiet and gentle soul, his strength brought success in every endeavor.

His parents Arthur and Annie Morgan Rayford introduced him to the world on November 24, 1935, in Fordyce, Arkansas. As with all children, he became a star in their eyes and hearts. He shared that honor with his siblings Rosie L. Rayford, John Lee Rayford, Josie Edwards (all deceased) and his surviving brother James Edwards (Cynthia) of North Las Vegas, NV.

The love bug attacked Lee on two occasions during his life. He married LaNeal Lucas in 1964, and they remained married until her death in 1990. Their daughters, Vickie A. Rayford and Celese Rayford Gordon (Aaron), became the apples of his eyes. Devoted son-in-law Aaron blessed Lee with two very active and loving grandchildren Amyaria Gordon and James Reed. Whether you wanted to listen or not, Lee happily and proudly shared stories about his grands.

Success followed Lee throughout his life. His formal education included degrees from The University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff; The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; and an earned Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M University, Commerce. He was also an Air Force veteran.

Dr. Rayford spent thirty years as an educator in the Clark County School District. His resume included classroom teacher, Title I program assistant, and school administrator from which he retired in 1996. He also served as principal of Redeemer Lutheran Elementary School and Tech World Charter Schools.

Other service-related activities in his life included membership in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (appointed by Governor Robert List), and ownership of LaRay’s Record and Book Shop, as well as a barbecue restaurant.

In all that encompassed his life, Dr. Rayford was bitten by the love bug for the second time. He met Billie Knight and fell hopelessly in love. They were married in 1994 and shared mutual pastimes and endeavors. Until his transition, Lee expressed his gratitude to Billie for the years of care and comfort she provided. This includes sending her roses on their recent and final Valentine’s Day together.

Lee was happiest when spending time with family and friends, especially his ladies at Doolittle Senior Center where he served as senior assistant. His passions included collecting coins and Black Heritage stamps, searching his extensive recipe collection, collecting children’s books, supporting the West Las Vegas Arts Center Summer Program, and traveling. In all of his accomplishments, he was most proud of his daughters Vickie and Celese, and Billie, his wife of twenty-six years.

Loved by all who grieve his departure, we can say he fought a good and laborious battle, and he gave us miracles we never expected. He now rests with the angels as he lives on in our memories. Remember that grief is the price we pay for love.


  • James Edwards, Honorary
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Alfred Rayford
  • Freddie Rayford
  • Elmer Morgan
  • William "Bill" Barnes
  • Reginald Johnson
  • Dr. Kenneth Harris
  • Herman Smith
  • Daniel Law, Jr.
  • Gregory Williams


  • Visitation

    Thursday, February 25, 2021


Dr. Lee Edward Rayford

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sidney and Deborah Franklin

February 26, 2021

Billie and family, We extend heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved husband, father, brother, and grandfather. In death, time is the healer, but Lee’s memories will live on in your hearts forever.

With sincere sympathies,
Sidney and Deborah Franklin

Carmen Jones

February 25, 2021

My Dear Friend Billie,

I am so sorry for your loss. Although this has been a long and sometimes difficult journey, I am reminded of the love and humor you shared with your beloved Lee. It makes me smile and I know those memories will continue to comfort you. I pray God’s peace for you and your family. Please know that you are forever in my heart.

I love you,

Dr. Carmen Jones

Shirley Bull

February 25, 2021

Dr. Rayford was such a delightful gentleman, it was a pleasure to be in his presence. My prayers will be a constant blessing for him and his wonderful family, thank you so very much.

TaWanda Roddy

February 25, 2021

Sincerest condolences to Ms Billie, Vickie, and Celese! I was saddened to hear of Mr. Rayford’s passing. Even more saddened to explain to our son, James. I am extremely grateful for the relationship he shared with his granddad. He loves his Bonus family and I know Mr. Rayford loved him, tremendously. He will truly be missed.

Much Love, TaWanda

Dr. Kim Martin

February 24, 2021

Soror Billie, what beautiful memories the two of you have made together. I love the stories I often heard for you and Lee were heaven sent. I can’t imagine the loss you have suffered, but know I’m here for you now and always.”
Also, prayers for his daughters, his brother and the entire family.

Soror Kim Mitchell-Martin

Wilsetta Mitchell

February 24, 2021

Condolences to you Soror Billie and your immediate families. God will hold you in His arms to comfort you and wipe your tears away in your time of pain n sorrow. Praying for peace and comfort in the days and months ahead. Soror Wilsetta Mitchell. Gary, Indiana.

John Gilliam III

February 24, 2021

Our lives are made significantly greater and indelibly touched by a most sincere and genuine spirit—the embodiment of Dr. Lee Rayford. A rich tradition and dedication of service towards his fellowman is the legacy we inherit, a tangible testament of selfless deeds. Truly and indeed, “fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear.” We thank God for both his life and memory. To Billie, Celise, and the entire Rayford family, we thank you for sharing Lee with us and offer our utmost and humble condolences and prayers.

Mr. John Gilliam, Jr.

Dr. Oliver and Cheryl F. Gilliam
Tiffany Gilliam
Gabrielle Gilliam
Marlon, Camille, and August Burnley

John and Sherry A. Gilliam, III
John, Brianna, and Amariah Gilliam, IV

Marcus and Mary G. Erwin

Ethel Archibald

February 24, 2021

As you remember and mourn your loss, know that you are being thought of with sympathy and love.
The Archibald Family

Cassandra Lewis

February 24, 2021

Mr. Lee was quite until he started talking, I enjoyed the conversations we had, he loves talking about the history of his life and how important it was to make a change in others, I listening to him talk about his train, stamp and coin collection, where he came from down south and his love for GOOD food! He LOVED the Doolittle Seniors Center and the people it service, took good care of the ladies, he was one of my biggest supporters and mentors he insured me that Doolittle senior center now have the best fit, my heart is smiling, I will miss him but he will remain in my heart ♥️. Rest well Mr.Lee

Porter Lee Troutman, Jr.

February 24, 2021

God bless, Billie, Vickie and Celese. We are saddened to hear
that (Dr. Lee Edward Rayford, ED. D) has transitioned to another more peaceful place.

We share this time and deep grief ! Also, we share in love and memories of Dr. Lee Edward Rayford, Ed.D. during the 5 1/2 Decades that we have known him Professionally and as Our Extended Family member because of his constant smiling unique support of our family.

We will truely miss him but his spirit will always be present.
May you find comfort and in all of the special memories shared with Dr. Lee Edward Rayford, Ed. D.

Kindest Regards, Blessings and Prayers,

Porter, Bobbie, Gregory & Portia Troutman