Remembering Village Trustee Robert McCray

Robert McCray, Judge Ray Funderburk, Alisha McCray
Judge Ray Funderburk administers the oath of office to Trustee Robert McCray on May 1, 2017, as wife Alisha McCray looks on. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A public memorial gathering for Park Forest Trustee Robert McCray has been scheduled for Thursday, September 26, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at Dining on the Green, 349 Main Street, in Park Forest.

McCray, a resident of Park Forest for over 40 years, was first elected as a village trustee in 2005. He went on to become one of the longest-serving trustees in the history of the Village of Park Forest, having been re-elected in 2009, 2013, and 2017.

In his role as village trustee, McCray served as trustee liaison to a host of Park Forest boards and commissions, including the Commission on Human Relations, the Senior Commission, the Veterans Commission, and the Youth Commission.

McCray was a founding member of Park Forest’s Mediation Task Force. He and wife, Alicia, were well known in the community for their involvement in Park Forest and were strong advocates of the village.

In his professional career, McCray served for many years as a manager with the United States Postal Service before retiring.

Robert McCray
Robert McCray. (Village of Park Forest)

Park Forest salutes Robert McCray for his long and dedicated service to the community and expresses heartfelt condolences to all who feel his loss.

Memorial bunting currently hangs on the south façade of Park Forest’s Village Hall in tribute to McCray.

Members of the public seeking more information may email the family at [email protected].

The above is from the Village of Park Forest.

Robert McCray
Then Second Senior Trustee Robert McCray at a board meeting in January 2019. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

On a Personal Note

On a personal note, let me just say how much I have been missing Robert since I learned of his death. His attendance at meetings had become a rarity, but he didn’t share much about his conditions or illnesses.

Robert always made an entrance to the board room. Had the honor of serving with him for many years. Would grow frustrated with him if he was late for a meeting, but Robert never seemed frustrated. He would casually yet resolutely enter the board room, walk along the back of the board room sometimes, say hello to staff members, carrying his hat.

He was always a gentleman and a scholar. But you knew when he was angry. And he would become angry at weekend meetings if he heard that someone was saying something negative about Park Forest or Park Foresters.

He also had a warm sense of humor.

And stories.

Many, many stories.

We would be sitting at a Saturday budget meeting with staff, the room full of board members and heads of departments. Or we would be sitting at a weekday budget meeting in the evening, sometimes for several hours.

Then, for some reason, Robert would remember.

“When I worked for the Post Office…” he would begin. My eyes would glaze over. Village Manager Tom Mick would see my expression and begin to chuckle to himself. Robert would be good for 15 or 20 minutes sometimes with his U.S. Post Office stories.

There was always a point. He just took us there in his own unique way.

I miss that now.

Robert, I’m sure you are well, old friend, enjoying a long-deserved rest. I look forward to hearing your stories again someday.

In the meantime, I remember and am grateful to have known you.

Prayers for you, Alicia, and your family.

Warmly,

Gary Kopycinski