Joseph Leray McNamara

Joseph Leray McNamara


Joseph Leray McNamara, known as Ray, was born on January 14, 1947, in Greenville, MS, and peacefully passed on March 23, 2024. Ray was a man of constant motion; his life was an adventure from his youth in Seoul, Korea, to climbing Mt. Fuji as an Eagle Scout. 

Attending Ole Miss, he pledged Phi Delta Theta fraternity and was it’s two-time Rush Chair and President. He was also honored to be tapped for Omicron Delta Kappa.  After graduating from Ole Miss on an ROTC scholarship, he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War for over four years, later attending UM Law School where he was on the Mississippi Law Review.

Ray's career focused on insurance law, initially at Wise Carter before founding his own firm. Notable was his argument before the United States Supreme Court on his birthday, before a much entertained panel led by Chief Justice Rehnquist.  Ray was a member of the Mississippi and American Bar Associations, DRI and was extremely honored to have been a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, serving as the President of it’s southeast division, SEABOTA.

His passions extended beyond work to his beloved family, reading any and everything, his carefully curated music collection, and finally to outdoor adventures around the world and at his much-loved home in NC.  It was his joy to share this special place with extended family and his many friends. 

Ray's first marriage to Betty Swan, his high school sweetheart, ended tragically with her death. However, he found love again with Cynthia Clayton, marrying in 2009. Their blended family brought them great joy. They felt blessed that despite Ray's later health struggles, they were able to travel the world together, sharing each other’s adventures for over a decade, until just this past year. 

Predeceased by Betty, his parents, and stepson, Andrew Clayton, Ray is survived by his children and stepchildren, along with numerous grandchildren. Grateful for the care provided by The Blake at the Township and St. Catherine's Village staff, his family invites friends to celebrate Ray's life on April 5th at St. Richard Catholic Church, with visitation from noon to 2:30 p.m.; join his family and friends for a Time of Reflection from 2:30-3:00 p.m.; followed by a Celebration of Life Mass at 3:00 p.m. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul or a preferred charity. Ray's legacy lives on in the hearts of those he loved and the many lives he touched.

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