Charity Spotlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters Receives Record Gift

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire has received the largest gift in agency history: a home in Laguna Beach valued at $8.5 million, donated by the estate of late Newport Beach businessman William D. Ray.

The grant deed with remainder interest recorded Oct. 27 with First American Title.

Ray, who chaired the parent company of the Balboa Bay Club before his death in 1991, was born in South Dakota and grew up in an orphanage after his mother was killed in a gun accident when he was 2 years old. Following high school, he joined the U.S. Army and became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.

“What a wonderful thing it would have been for him to have had a Big Brother at some time in his lonely life,” said Ray’s widow, Beverly Ray Parkhurst. “Luckily, his sergeant saw something in the young recruit and urged him to go to college. What a blessing that Army man was to Bill Ray’s life, the first who ever saw him as something more than another mouth to feed. I honor William D. Ray through Big Brothers Big Sisters with something that meant so much to both of us: his first real home and my greatest treasure, the house of our dreams. I hope it will serve the highest purpose, one Bill would have been part of, making a young man’s life much better and more meaningful.”

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