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Graydon Stanley "Jerry" Gray

Graydon Stanley "Jerry" Gray, 83, Gold Beach, died May 25, 2002, in Gold Beach of a heart attack.

He was born Dec. 1, 1919, in Syracuse, Neb., to Roy B. Gray and Lois Richards Gray Kraft Witt.

He was raised on a large farm owned by his stepfather, Frank Kraft.

He attended schools in Syracuse and toured the state with a group of schoolmates who had formed a vocal group.

At 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and went to the Great Lakes Naval Training School. He attended naval schools during his years in the service. He served aboard the U.S.S. Lexington aircraft carrier on Dec. 7, 1941, during World War II and the thick of the Pacific action. The "Lady Lex" was in the Battle of the Coral Sea when it was hit by a Japanese Torpedo and sunk. He was rescued some time later by another naval ship. He also survived an airplane crash while on duty at San Diego.

Mr. Gray had also attended pre-flight schools and participated in reconnaissance flights in various areas. One memory he shared was flying from Japan to Alaska with orders to bring back his commanding officer a large stage of fresh Alaskan crab, after completing their required mission.

After the war and the Occupation of Japan, he was stationed in Saipan and Atsugi N.A.S. Japan with his family. While in Japan he became friends with Price Mauri (an Imperial Marine), through his maid, Fujiko. He was invited to the Royal Palace to play golf with the prince who was a Harvard graduate.

His last assignment, after serving in many duty stations, was Memphis, Tenn., where he taught aviation mechanics. He retired in 1957, with an honorable discharge. He received his Certificate of Retirement for "having served faithfully and honorably in the U.S. Navy as a chief aviation structural mechanic on Oct. 1, 1967, for having served 20 years of active service and 10 years inactive in the U.S. Naval Reserve."

After his military retirement, he moved to California with his family where his first wife Thelma died in Concord, Calif., in 1961.

Mr. Gray married Dorothy in Concord, Calif., Feb. 25, 1962. They made their homes in Concord and Antioch, Calif. He retired from the Acalanes School District in Lafayette, Calif., in 1980 and moved to Gold Beach in 1989.

He was an avid golfer and was a member of the Cedar Bend Golf Course in Gold Beach and the Cedar Bend Mens' Club. He was a member of the Fleet Reserve, Professional Golfer's Association. He was an active member of the Gold Beach Elks Lodge where he served as a trustee and an exalted ruler, a member of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Survivors include wife, Dorothy "Dottie" Mary Gray of Gold Beach; stepson, Jesse Lee Lovelady of Brookings; daughters and sons-in-law, Sherry and Lou Meyer of Sacramento, Calif.; Janis and Jim Ramsey of Apex, N.C.; granddaughters, Laree Hawkland of Baton Rouge, La.; Sheryl and husband Bill Mulville of Sacramento; Allison and husband Mark Ramsey of Maryland; Renee and husband Richard Stidham of Sacramento; Robin and husband Rick Fremont of New Jersey; Julie and husband Guy Franklin of Sacramento; grandsons, Mike Opdahl of California; Marc Opdahl of Seattle; and Matthew and wife Julie Ramsey of Maryland.

Also surviving are great-grandchildren, Christopher, Casey and Nicholas Hawkland of Baton Rouge; Michelle Opdahl of California; Jon and Kelly Mulville of Sacramento; Tyler, Brandon and Lauryn Ramsey of Maryland; Ashley, Sara and Matt Stidham of Sacramento; aunt, Florence Richards of Nebraska City, Neb.; sisters-in-law, Mozelle Sinquefield of Concord; and Kathryn M. Wells of Gold Beach.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Leland Gray, and his first wife.


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