Centennial grad with musical aspirations remembered by Franklin community

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Raymond Marcial Cruz, or “Ray,” as many referred to him, was an aspiring artist who showcased his talents in front of the community on many different occasions and stages. 

He passed away on Aug. 31 at the young age of 19, following a three-year battle with Ewing-like sarcoma.

Back in May, Cruz shared his talents on stage at the Academy Park Performing Arts Center. He sang two of his favorite songs: “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars and “Gravity” by John Mayer. 

The inaugural Shine Your Light youth vocal competition was started by Cruz before his passing to help showcase the immense youth talent in the community. 

The competition will continue for years to come in Cruz’s honor, according to his mom, Blandina Vergara-Cruz, in a previous interview with the Herald. 

“We will continue in sharing his passion, joy and giving to other people,” she said. “We will continue it no matter if he is here or not. He will always be with us.”

In an interview with the Herald before his passing, Cruz said throughout his cancer journey there was one familiar saying that had gotten him through the various treatments and some of the toughest days: “We cannot choose what happens in our life, but we can choose how to respond.”

Cruz was working on a creative music project, incorporating his love for the folk genre in an album about his life story. 

“I’m trying to do a goodbye album since we do know that the cancer is going to win no matter what,” Cruz said previously. “I want to leave my legacy in the album for everyone to remember me by.”

The family will receive friends for a visitation from 4-8 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2019 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. 

The family also asks that guests do not wear black, as Cruz would have wanted the day to be a “happy and bright day.”

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Grace Chapel Church in Leiper’s Fork, and following that will be a memorial service at Williamson Memorial. A reception will be held at Grace Chapel from 6-8 p.m. All are welcome.  

To send flowers, please contact Williamson Memorial Funeral Home at 615-794-2289.

Information on donations in loving memory of Raymond Marcial Cruz can be found at www.RayofLightTn.com.

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