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Bruce Gray(1923 - 2014)

Bruce Weaver Gray, formerly of Dover, MA, passed away at Stony Brook University Medical Center, on March 2, 2014, at 90; the age he had aspired to attain. He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Gray Rolke (and her husband, William Rolke), of Dunbarton, NH; daughter, Betsy Gray Chervenak, of Bay Shore, NY; grandson, Alexander Gray Chervenak, of Bay Shore, NY; sister, Joyce Gray Anderson, of Helendale, CA; and cousin, June Gray Taylor, of Murrells Inlet, SC; as well as nieces, nephews, good friends, and neighbors. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 62 years, Martha Helen O'Jala Gray, and his brother, David L. Gray, of Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV. Bruce was born on the last day of December, in 1923, to his parents, Willis L. Gray, and Evelyn Weaver Gray, both of Newton, MA, at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Throughout his life, he enjoyed answering questions about his birthdate by saying "One two three; one two three!" (12/31/23). Most of his early years were spent in Newton, but the Gray family had to move several times during the Depression, including to Lake Charles, LA, and Maine, for father Willis to find work. Summers were spent on Cape Cod, where Bruce worked at the Harbor House, in Quissett Harbor. After graduation from Newton High School, Bruce attended Northeastern University, in Boston, MA, but his studies were cut short by the advent of World War II. Bruce proudly served as a sergeant in the United States Marines, and was equally proud to be a survivor of the major Battle of Iwo Jima, in the Pacific. The end of the war saw Bruce re-enrolled at Northeastern, and working at Waltham Watch Company, where he met his wife, Martha. They were married on April 16. 1948, and lived for a time in Watertown, MA. During college, Bruce pumped gas at the Jenney gas station, in Newton Centre. He landed a Northeastern co-op job at the S.H. Couch Company, Inc., in North Quincy, MA, a facility that manufactured telephonic devices, including those once frequently seen in apartment house lobbies; intercoms, including nurse-call systems; and fire alarms, including the familiar red-and white outdoor pull-stations. Bruce was a member of the honor society Eta Kappa Nu at Northeastern, and graduated in 1951, with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. He was hired by the Couch organization in 1951, as an engineer for signaling and communication equipment. Oak Hill Park, in Newton, MA, was a new housing development being offered to returning Newton service men and women, and Bruce and Martha had a home built there for their growing family. The couple's two children, Rebecca and Betsy, were also born at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and the family lived in Newton for seven years, before moving to Dover, MA, in 1957. Active in the town, Bruce served as a deacon at the Dover Church in the 1960s, and with Martha, was a member of the church-based Couples Club, and local bridge clubs. Bruce was an avid camper, and pitched tents at campsites with the family in Maine, at Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park; Niagara Falls, NY; and Canada, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the environs of Quebec City, Toronto, and Montreal. There was not an animal alive, wild or domestic, with which Bruce did not feel an immediate connection. He tried to tame even the most difficult dogs and cats, and once terrified his family by hand-feeding doughnuts to big black bears and their cubs, which were foraging at a public dump, in Baxter State Park. Bruce became manager of the relay division, then sales manager of products and components, to become vice-president of sales at Couch Ordnance, Inc., a division of S.H. Couch, Inc. (Later, Couch became part of Exide Safety Systems, in East Randolph, MA). Responsible for all Couch Ordnance products, Bruce was instrumental in the research, development and marketing of relays and other special electro-mechanical equipment for missiles, rockets, and aircraft. He received awards for his work with the NASA space program, and the U.S. military, from the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as from several business and technical associations. Traveling internationally, Bruce eventually wanted to work closer to home, and transitioned to Radio Frequency Company, in Medfield, MA, where he remained until 1985. His retirement days were filled to overflowing with selling antiques and other items on EBay and at New England flea markets, and with occasional trips to Maine, Cape Cod, and other destinations, with Martha. A memorial service will take place on Monday, June 2, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., at Grace Church, 21 Centre St., Dover, MA 02030; 508-785-3500; followed by a reception at the church. Burial with military honors will take place at 3:00 p.m. the same day, at Newton Cemetery, Newton, MA. Donations in Bruce's name, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the .


Published in The Newton Tab from Mar. 14 to Mar. 21, 2014
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