MOUNT CARROLL—Joseph McCray, 81, of Mount Carroll passed away Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, at FHN Memorial Hospital, Freeport.

A celebration of life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Law-Jones Funeral Home, Mount Carroll. Visitation will be held 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the funeral home. Friends are invited to leave a condolence and share in Joe's life at

Joseph was born June 8, 1940, in Mount Carroll, the son of James and Ada (Jones) McCray. He is a 1958 Mount Carroll High School graduate, and in July of 1958 Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving at the Great Lakes Naval Base. Joe enjoyed trapping, going to air shows and Ham Radio, using the call signals N9DLD and NA9VY.

He worked as a farmhand and at the old Jolly Green Giant Cannery in Lanark. On June 22, 1973, Joe married Kimberly Pidde at the First Baptist Church in Mount Carroll. They raised five children and celebrated 48 years of marriage.

Joe discovered he was pretty good at taking pictures, and he started working for the local paper, the Carroll County Mirror-Democrat. He also took photos for the Carroll County Review. It was never a surprise to see Joe on the sidelines capturing memories at sporting events. He had a special talent at seeing life through the lens of his camera.

You could find a friend in Joe; he was always willing to listen...and tell his stories. Family was the most important part of his life. He raised his children to respect the military, especially the Navy. He loved watching his grandchildren thrive in life. Joe shared his many stories with family, friends and strangers, and usually on more than one occasion!

He was a member of the Palisades Amateur Radio Club, volunteer with U.S. Sea Cadets in Dubuque, Iowa, and at Great Lakes. He also volunteered with the Navy RDAC.

Joseph will be dearly missed by his wife, Kim McCray of Mount Carroll; their five children, Autumn McCray of Mount Carroll, Joseph (Julia) McCray of Morrison, Heather Adamec of Milledgeville, Christopher McCray of Fort Meade, Md., and Daniel (Katy) McCray of San Diego, Calif.; 14 grandchildren, Donovan and Nicholas Smith, Daisy Rose McCray, Aaron, Brady and Madison McCray, Isabella and Ashlynn Poisal, Courtney Schmidt, Bridget and Dalton Adamec, Alex, William and Juliette McCray; a sister, Kathleen Woodley of Pekin; a sister-in-law, Iris McCray of Westminster, Calif.; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Joe was preceded in death by both parents, James and Ada McCray; two grandchildren, Logan McCray and Faith Adamec; four siblings, Virginia (McCray) Gedgate, Robert McCray, Marjorie (McCray) Buckwalter, and Frank Oliver McCray in infancy.