Services will be held Thursday, May 16, for Lillian Mildred Edmunds McCray, 73, of West Philadelphia, an office manager and receptionist who died Friday, April 26, of pancreatic cancer at her home.

Ms. McCray worked in the trust administration department of the former First Pennsylvania Bank for 28 years, handling savings accounts and then employee benefits. Shortly after CoreStates Financial Corp. acquired First Pennsylvania in 1989, Ms. McCray was laid off.

She then became a supervisor for the U.S. Census Bureau, a secretary for Vine Memorial Baptist Church, a receptionist for Pacifico Ford, and an administrative assistant for the Mantua Community Improvement Committee. Until retiring last November, she was office manager and receptionist for Casmir Care Services, a provider of help for the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

Lillian M. McCray
Lillian M. McCray

“All of her jobs gave her great enjoyment, as she loved working with people and giving everyone exceptional personal care,” said her daughter, Lisa Kidd. “She seemed to never tire and always said, ‘I have to keep busy.’”

Known as “Miss Lil” to friends and colleagues, she was the fourth of eight children born in Philadelphia to Gerald Ransome Edmunds Sr. and Fannie Mae Edmunds.

She graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1963 and attended Peirce College and the American School of Banking in the late 1960s.

In 1963, she married her childhood sweetheart, Donald Roy McCray. The couple settled in the Mill Creek section of the city to raise four children.

Ms. McCray was a kind, gentle helper of others. She loved to cook for her family. Her specialty was potato salad. City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell was a big fan of the dish, her family said.

“We believe she mixed it by hand,” her daughter Lisa Kidd said of her mother’s secret for potato salad. “When we tried to do it with the same ingredients but without hand mixing, it never tasted the same. If anybody ate it, they loved it.”

Ms. McCray was baptized at an early age at Vine Memorial Baptist Church and rebaptized as an adult at Greater Faith Baptist Church, where she became a member.

In the 1990s, she returned to Vine Memorial. In 2013, Ms. McCray joined the Church of Christian Compassion.

“She was a loving member of the Church of Christian Compassion, and we will miss her,” the church receptionist said.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by daughter Dionne McCray Wilson; son Donald R. McCray II; stepdaughter Pamela Ester; four grandchildren; three great-granddaughters, two great-grandsons; three brothers, a sister; and nieces and nephews. Her husband died in 1993. A daughter, Donna Renee McElroy, and a granddaughter also died earlier.

A visitation starting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 16, will be followed by a memorial service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 W. Girard Ave. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network via