Only Willard Could …

For each of us, on the day we met Willard McRae, the stars were aligned. To know him, to work with him, to serve with him meant that, for all of us, each day of knowing – and loving – Willard McRae was a day in which life was very good.

Willard McRae
Willard McRae

We learned so much from Willard –

Only Willard could teach us the meaning of truly going above and beyond…and then some…and enjoying every minute of it.

Only Willard could make you feel that your skills were good enough, that you could – and had to – make a difference (he’d remind us, we were doing good things together)

Only Willard could turn a serious discussion into a laughter-filled conversation while assigning each individual a job to get the task done (and you wonder how you signed for the task) and

Only Willard could make the slogan “Just Do It” sound like a lazy sound bite.

Willard shared 100% of Willard and he did so with laughter, humility and graciousness.  And as he moved on to help yet another organization, he never really left any of the others … his mark was made; his heart stayed … and it expanded to embrace even more.

We are proud of the “WM” we have stamped on our hearts, and we know you are, too.

So here’s to one-of-a-kind, someone whose heart was bigger than all of Middlesex County – bigger, really, than the world – someone who was:    genuine, honest, a straight shooter, inclusive, amazing, a mentor, a bright light, intelligent, competent, loving, caring, daring, engaging, elegant, serene, funny, special, a true partner.  A “best bud,” a dear friend to all –

Willard’s legacy is understanding what it takes to make our community a better, stronger, more vibrant place than we found it, and the willingness to do the work – together.

So … let’s all do as Willard would do.  “Let’s work hard, be nice and have some fun!”


The Legacy Willard and Kathy McRae established – the Katherine and Willard McRae Fund at CFMC

The Community Foundation would like to thank everyone who has written and shared their love for Willard – here are links to recent articles about Willard:

Willard McRae Memorial Service Obituary

Willard McRae, 1933-2016 Published Obituary

Middletown stakeholders vow to continue work of civil rights, youth advocate Willard McRae (Middletown Press, 02/26/16)

Middletown Youth Advocate Willard McRae Remembered For Life That Will Have “Ripple Effect” (Courant, 02/23/16)

Willard McRae Recognized as Middletown Press Person of the Year (Middletown Press, December 2015)

Director, McRae Awarded CFMC Beacon of Philanthropy Award (Courant, December 2015)


Willard M. McRae, 1933 – 2016


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