Russell Davidson Gray died in his Las Cruces home Wednesday, May 7, 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 92. Russell was born Dec. 26, 1921, in Moran, Kansas. He was the oldest of five children. His family moved to Fierro, New Mexico, and later to Silver City, where Russell attended high school. The family then moved to Mountainair, New Mexico, where he graduated from high school. After graduation, he entered the Electrical Engineering School at New Mexico A&M and he and his family moved into a house in Mesilla Park, where his parents lived for the rest of their lives. While attending New Mexico A&M, the war in Europe was gearing up and Russell volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was sent to the Island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea and served as a ground radio operator taking coded messages from airplanes. Because of his math and engineering background, he was qualified to study data and make calculations for bombing targets. He served his country during World War II in France, England and Germany. After he was discharged, he returned to his family home in Mesilla Park and resumed his engineering studies on the G.I. Bill. He attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas for a couple of semesters and then returned to New Mexico A&M in Las Cruces. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1947 and went to work for El Paso Electric Co. in El Paso, Texas. While living in El Paso and attending Trinity Methodist Church, he met the love of his life, Edith Snowden. They were married June 5, 1949, and had three children, Russell, Dorothy and Marian. In 1960, his work transferred him to Las Cruces, where was head of the engineering department at the Las Cruces branch of El Paso Electric. Russell and his family became active members of St Paul's Methodist Church, where Russell served on many committees and boards. He was a member of the Las Cruces Kiwanis Club for 40 years and received its Legion of Honor Award for his service. When he retired from EPEC in 1987, he and his wife Edith bought an RV Fifth wheel and took to the road. They also traveled around the world, including trips to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, and the Holy Land. He continued to be active in his community and served on the board of Mesilla Valley Hospice and Habitat for Humanity. Russell enjoyed hiking, camping, fishing and growing beautiful flowers in his yard. He was a Boy Scout leader and sponsored the youth group at his church. He loved life, but most of all, he loved his family. Russell was preceded in death by his parents, Allan and Dorothy Gray, and his son, Russell D. Gray Jr., his sisters Annabelle Bumgarner and Betty Pagel; and his brother, Allan B. Gray Jr. He is survived by his wife, Edith S. Gray; his daughters, Dorothy Lewis of Dell City, Texas, and Marian Barker and husband, Larry, of Lubbock, Texas; his grandsons, Scott Lewis and wife, Becky, of Dell City and Travis Lewis and wife, Amanda, of Dell City; three great-grandchildren: Emily, Coby and Hope Lewis; and his sister, Helen Mcleod of Ashland, Oregon. Services are entrusted to La Paz-Grahams Funeral Home. Visitation will be held at St. Paul's United Methodist Church today, May 14, 2014, at 10 to 11 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. with interment at Hillcrest Cemetery. Pallbearers: Scott Lewis, Travis Lewis, Steve Bumgarner, Ken Pagel, Lorenzo Apodaca, and Joshua Gonzales. Honorary pallbearers: Russell Hamm, George Hughes, Allan Pagel, all the loving caregivers that have taken care of Mr. Gray: Ruth Gonzales, Lorenzo Apodaca, Joshua Gonzales, Lidia Macias, Imelda Arvizu, Esaul Ramirez, Tania Cobos, Israel Valenzuela, Veronica Hernandez, and Jovanna Gonzales. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Las Cruces Habitat for Humanity or Mesilla Valley Hospice 299 E. Montana, Las Cruces, NM 88005
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on May 11, 2014.