Phill Rayfield, 66, of Crisfield, Md., passed away Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.
Born in Crisfield, Md., on Oct. 21, 1947, he was a son of the late Charles and Eloise Ruark Rayfield.
He graduated valedictorian of Crisfield High School’s class of 1965 and lettered in all athletics. Phill graduated from Towson University and obtained his teaching and administrative certificate from UMES.
Mr. Rayfield retired from the Somerset County School System in 2010 after 31 years as a teacher, administrator and coach. During his tenure at CHS, he coached the Crabbers basketball team from 1990 through 2010, and led them to four South Division titles, three Bayside crowns, two Regional championships, and in 2000 his Crabbers brought home the school’s eighth state championship. Phill became one of only a few people to win as both a player and a coach at the same school at the state level.
He was heavily involved in youth basketball and baseball leagues, tournaments and organizations including AAU Basketball and Little League for many years. Phill was a prolific artist and supported arts councils all over the shore including Somerset County Arts Council, Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council, Ocean City League of the Arts, Worcester County Arts Council, Rehoboth Art League and Talbot County Arts Council. He was also a member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist in Crisfield, where he formerly taught Sunday school and was youth leader. He loved spending time with his family, traveling, listening to jazz music, playing guitar and piano, reading, writing and gardening. Phill was also a talented construction contractor, building numerous homes in the area.
Coach Rayfield touched many lives in the classroom and on the court. He will be long remembered for many reasons, but most of all for living by his own motto and expectations of his players: “God first. Then family. Then academics. Then basketball.”
He is survived by his wife, Gail Lankford of Crisfield, Md.; his son, Amrit Rayfield and his wife, Kelly, of Hagerstown, Md.; two stepdaughters, Tammy Milbourne of Crisfield, Md., and Kutresa Lankford of Berlin, Md.; two brothers, Doug Rayfield and his wife, Gail, of Allen, Pa., and Charles Rayfield Jr. and his wife, Jill, of Crisfield, Md.; six grandchildren, Gabby, Kennedi, Taylor, Tariq, Takai and Tahron; one great-grandchild, Chase; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of Crisfield High School. Pastor Bob Daniels will officiate and will be assisted by Lay Leader Richard Kellam and Pastors Chuck Jacobson, Cynthia Bonneville and Paul Holland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory are requested to be sent to Crisfield High School Athletics, 210 N. Somerset Ave., Crisfield, MD 21817; Holly Grove Christian School, 7317 Mennonite Church Road, Westover, MD 21871; Crisfield Salvation Army, Youth Programs, Attention: Phil Parks, 8 E. Main St., Crisfield, MD 21817; Woodrow Wilson Community Center, 115 S. Seventh St., Crisfield, MD 21817; or It Takes A Village To Help Our Children, Inc., in care of Lee Still, 200 Morris Drive, Salisbury, MD 21804. To send condolences, please visit www.bradshawandsonsfuneralhome.com.