A sailor, firefighter and tireless volunteer at Junee’s swim club – Junee’s Bill Wray was all of these things.
Many would remember the man starting the races poolside, encouraging everyone to do their best.
When Mr Wray died, Junee lost more than a caring man who worked hard for his family – they lost a loving father and devoted husband.
Born in Melbourne in July 1944, Mr Wray moved around the country as his dad chased work, eventually settling in Adaminaby.
While being sent to boarding school in Sydney, Mr Wray always thought of himself as a country boy and loved spending time with his family.
Following in his dad’s footsteps, Mr Wray joined the Royal Australian Navy serving for nine years aboard several ships.
In 1972, Mr Wray became a single dad, but he stepped up to the challenge and even made custom outfits for Barbie dolls for his daughter.
After leaving the navy to become a firefighter, he would often say “from a sailor on Friday to fireman on the Monday” and help people “on their worst days”.
Living in Sydney until 1980, Mr Wray moved to Wagga to become that city’s first permanent firefighter. He served until he was 60 years old.
It was in Wagga that Mr Wray met Pat and his family of three became one of seven, before Peter joined the family.
“Your kids, my kids, our kids,” as Mr Wray used to say.
When the older children left home, Mr Wray and Pat moved to Junee.
In Percy Street there was enough room for his shed full of handy stuff and for Pat to potter around the garden.
He loved his grandchildren and the friendships he made, people who were there through good times and bad.