Strange Lt. Col., Ret. John Gray
Passed away June 13, 2014 at Broad Acres Nursing Home, Wellsboro, PA. He was born February 19, 1917 in Gray's Valley, PA, to the late John Cooley and Alice Gray Strange. He was predeceased by brother Edson Cooley and wife Marion White Strange. He is survived by his wife Odeena Jensen Strange, daughter Shelley and husband David Hamel, sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Jensen Campbell and Hildred Jensen Yost, one grandchild, two great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. John graduated in Forestry from Penn State University in 1939 where, while on the cross country track team he qualified for the next Olympics. He continued training in Hawaii where he was sent as a draftee. He was there on December 7, 1941. He became an officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after training at Ft. Belvoir Virginia. From there he went to England and France. He was wounded in France and received the Purple Heart. After the war he returned to civilian life but continued in the Army Reserves. When asked to help fill the need of Engineers in the Army he returned to active duty. John was in Korea and during the Christmas season he went on leave to Tokyo. On the military plane in Seoul a teacher from the Army dependents school came aboard. She asked him if the vacant seat next to him was taken, No, so she sat. They chatted and it turned out she taught his commanding officer's son. Thus introduced, they enjoyed Tokyo and later Korea together. Back in the U.S. they married in Odeena's church in Berkley, CA. John had various postings in the United States, two in Korea, and the most unusual was to Afghanistan in the sixties. He looked it up on a map to find the location. His assignment was overseeing the completion of the road from Kabul to Kandahar. Upon retirement from the Army the Col. Became a Resident Engineer for Gannett Flemming Corp. Finally in retirement in Gray's Valley he enjoyed his membership in Corey Creek Golf Club playing with his senior friends. He was a lifelong member of the Sullivan State Road Baptist Church. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, and family visits. Friends are invited to John's graveside service at the Sullivan State Road Cemetery on Wednesday at 11:30 AM. He will be laid to rest there with full military honors. Family will provide the flowers. Memorial contributions in his memory may be directed to the Sullivan State Road Baptist Church c/o Donna Davey 18593 Rt. 6 Mansfield, PA 16933. A service of Gary Wilston Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Mansfield, PA.
Wilston Funeral Home & Cremation Service
130 S. Main St. Mansfield, PA 16933
Published in Star-Gazette on June 15, 2014