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Ralph James Gray

1930 - 2019
Ralph James Gray Obituary
Ralph James Gray

Sept 19, 1930-Sept 28, 2019

Of the greatest generation, as lived by example. Our father truly lived the last years of his life in the service of others, selflessly providing his life wisdom to those who needed him most, those battling the realities of the human condition that he himself conquered. He was a strong light of hope and perspective in the storms of the lives of those who got to know him and rely on him. Ask them, they will confirm, they owe him everything. I met some of these people in his last days. I've never been prouder of what he became than I was with a small glimpse into his life purpose in those last days. He was, however, humble, grateful and polite right up to the end. He told me it was an honor and he was "lucky" to be able to help his friends navigate their troubles using the Twelve Steps. He will be missed by many.

He will be missed especially by his son, my brother, Douglas Gray of St. Pete, my sister, Elizabeth Gray of Holiday FL who took upon herself his care after our mother passed. The three of us were also living examples of his and our mothers' charity, all adopted in the 60's instantly changing our fortunes for the better.

I will miss him and our regular phone calls from Michigan, usually after work, usually seeking his perspective to balance mine. I have the privilege of writing these final words on his life, my name is Charles Gray, residing in White Lake MI. His final wish was to rejoin his wife of 63 years, Virginia Gray. We like to imagine they are together again and are probably bickering over where he left the remote control so he could watch his beloved Cubs play yet another game.

Our father was a reporter from the beginning, working his way up from the copy room in Chicago where he worked for the big papers in the days of the big papers. Later, he moved the family to Detroit, to work for the automotive periodicals eventually becoming lead editor at a startup publication for automotive dealers. In his last career trimester, he free-lanced and worked at his own pace, in his own way and seemed happiest.

He is also survived by our spouses and our eight grandchildren; John Charles, James, Levi, Cale, Luke, Mark, Matt and Jessica.

Published in Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9, 2019
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