Meet our staff, members of the local community who make everything that happens possible.
Eric Vaughn Wray II is a native of Portsmouth, a resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has over 25 years experience in the Funeral industry and serves as our Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer; holding dual licenses in Virginia & North Carolina.
Eric received his education from the Portsmouth Public School System and holds an Associate's in Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service from John Tyler Community College in Chester, VA. Eric has also matriculated at Norfolk State University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia's historic Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership program.
Eric was appointed in 2011 by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve as the youngest member in the Commonwealth's history, on the Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. This board is the state's regulatory board, that governs all Funeral Homes and Funeral Directors throughout the Commonwealth. During his tenure, Eric served as Secretary/Treasurer of the board.
Eric Wray also has served our country during the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States Navy. His service includes duty stations in Great Lakes, IL, Meridian MS, and Newport, RI. Eric is also active in many community and civic organizations. With his strong Funeral Service background, serving as manager of many area establishments, and formerly employed with SCI, the largest corporation of Funeral Service in North America, Eric has a vast wealth of knowledge in the funeral industry.
In his community service, Eric has been able to bring pastors, community, faith, civic, and labor leaders together with National, State, and Local elected officials. He has joined with various political campaigns, who desired to improve the lives of working families, on issues and helped organize a majority in Virginia across race, class, and political lines. Eric's main focus is building and maintaining relationships with labor, elected officials, community leaders, pastors, and allies to advance the broader community agenda. He also is further responsible for helping to fine-tune public policy, programmatic, and budgetary demands and develop powerful political campaigns to advance the demands.
Professional & Local Associations
Board Member/Secretary Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors
President/CEO of the Virginia Burial Foundation Inc.
Embalmer-Commonwealth of Virginia Anatomical Program
Member of the Hampton University Ministers Conference
Member of the National Funeral Directors Association
Member of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association
Vice-Chairman City of Portsmouth Board of Housing
Member City of Portsmouth Social Services Board
Parishioner of Second Calvary Baptist Church
Licensed Life & Annuities Insurance Burial Agent
Executive Secretary of Board of Directors-YMCA of Hampton Roads
Credentials Committee Member- Third Congressional District of Virginia
Vice Chairman - Second Congressional District of Virginia
Writing Publications & Public Speaking Featured
November 2005 & October 2006 Wavy TV 10 Featured News at NOON TV Guest on issues from Politics to Health Care
Keynote Speaker Minority Business Capital Call
Featured Radio Host “The Final Benediction Morning Show” Joyz 100.9 FM
Radio Host 1270 AM "Make a joyful Noise Show"
Guest - 1110 AM "The Specialist Radio Show"
Guest - 1110 AM "The Steve Batton Radio Show"
Judge-Norfolk State University Homecoming Parade
Guest Lecturer Political Science Department Old Dominion University.
Guest Lecturer Chaplain Residency Program Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
Guest Contributor - Funerals Today Magazine “8 steps in Making Funeral Arrangements.
October 15, 1948 - November 7, 2020
Robert A. "Bobby" Steele was a native of Norfolk and a current resident of Portsmouth. He was the son of the late Dr. Rodger S. & Lucy Hodges Steele.
Bobby, a 1967 graduate of I. C. Norcom High School; and has matriculated at Norfolk State University.
Bobby, was a member of Zion Baptist Church, Portsmouth under the leadership of Dr. Kelvin E. Turner. At Zion, Bobby served on the Male Chorus, Mass Choirs, and other area churches as a lead singer. He was also a member of the "Drop-In" ministry that assists those who are homeless.
Bobby has received many awards and commendations, in retail and church. Most notable "In Style" Upscale Menswear.
Bobby's mission was to have compassion for the elderly. On a consistent basis, he took time out of his busy schedule to assist several elderly persons in the community.
Bobby's upbringing, community connections, and career experience, made him ideal to comfort those dealing with the loss of a loved one. His tranquil and gentle spirit was certainly a great asset in serving families here at E. Vaughn Wray, as they deal with difficult times.
Sadly, "Uncle Bobby" (as our staff affectionately called him); was called home to eternal rest on November 7, 2020. "Uncle Bobby"; you certainly left an indelible mark on all of us and the families you served here at E. Vaughn Wray. You will certainly be missed.
Gospel music was birthed in the late 1800s, and since then there have been many torch bearers. Arizona Dranes, a blind Church of God in Christ evangelist was the first person to commit the sounds of gospel to a record.
From this rich tradition sprang gospel music’s newest torch bearers, D’vyne Worship. Led by its founder and imitable choir master, Elder Patrick Riddick, this 50 voice aggregate was founded in 2001 in Virginia Beach, Va. ‘DW’ as the choir is affectionately called was born out of the young adult choir Riddick led at his home church, New Jerusalem COGIC. The ministry has spent the last ten years making its musical mark regionally and nationally. Known as a “powerhouse” choir, the individual vocalists who make up the aggregation sing with passion, fervor, intense power and above all, the anointing.
The earth shattering vocals of D’vyne Worship have gotten the attention of the country, but also Riddick’s mentor, the famed Ricky Dillard--founder and leader of New G (the New Generation Chorale). Riddick currently serves as assistant choral director to the group. Riddick is no novice to gospel music. Directing choirs since his youth, he is known country-wide as a master director, arranger, writer and clinician. Riddick received his Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal music from Norfolk State University. With this foundation and a commitment to Christ, Riddick set the tone and tempo of D’vyne Worship.
DW’s musical resume’ is an extensive one, of which they have been blessed to travel the country ministering in song, and sharing stages with some of gospel music’s top artists. Recognized for a well-rounded musical repertoire, DW transitions seamlessly from one gospel music genre to the next. Rooted in the Pentecostal flavoring of the southeast, DW stays true to its church roots while also effectively ministering and performing anthems, gospel ballads, CCM standards, and contemporary gospel.
Sticking with that multifaceted theme, the group’s debut album is entitled A Song for Every Worshipper. “Greater Is He” and “He Kept Me,”—singles from the forthcoming album are available on amazon.com and itunes!
Foraging forward, torch in hand, Patrick Riddick now begins a new chapter, serving the Hampton Roads area grieving families with stellar service that has been E. Vaughn Wray's hallmark.
Elder Tracy Mitchell was born on March 26, in Virginia Beach, VA in the SEATAC section to Elder Helen Johnson and the late Elder Robert L. Johnson. She is the fifth child of five. She is the mother of three daughters, Tamika Mitchell and Samiyah Olds, and Zainab Dexter.
Elder Mitchell is the Assistant Pastor of the Faith Temple Worship Center Apostolic Faith Church of God Live On in Virginia Beach, where the pastor is Elder Helen Johnson.
She was ordained a minister in August 2012. She was ordained as Elder Tracy Mitchell in August 2015.
Elder Mitchell graduated from First Colonial High School in 1982; she went on to earn an Associate Degree in Applied Science and a Masters in Government Contracting from George Washington University.
Elder Mitchell is employed with the Navy Exchange Service Command for the past 30 plus years as a Contracting Officer.
In February 2017 Elder Mitchell enlisted in the Virginia Beach Police Department Chaplain’s Academy for their 10-week training session. On April 20, 2017, she was sworn in as a Virginia Beach Police Chaplain. On March 4, 2018, she was sworn in as a chaplain for the United States Secret Service.
Elder Mitchell is a very active person, who loves the LORD, loves her family, and loves people. “TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE”.
Jeff along with his wife Annie is the owner of the funeral home. Jeff is a 1985 graduate of Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science Program.
He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University which he earned in 1992. He enjoys exercising and spending time off with his children – Maggie, Jack and Peter.
Jeff and his family are members of the St. Basil Catholic Church. When time allows, Jeff likes to be active in our community and is a member of the Kiwanis Club, Loyal Order of the Moose, Sons of the American Legion, and the Knights of Columbus. In 2013, Jeff and his family were the St. Basil Knights of Columbus Family of the year.
Jeff was recognized by the Bobby Walker Administration with their Leadership Award in 2010. He was also recognized by the First Spiritual Church of Covert for his role in community leadership in 2015.