Allnutt Funeral Service – Drake Road Chapel

650 W. Drake Rd., Ft. Collins, CO


Dr. Lee Gray

August 9, 1940July 22, 2020

Dr. S. Lee Gray, a long-time resident of Fort Collins, was called home by his Heavenly Father on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by Karlin, his wife of 55 years; his brother, John (Linda); his sister, Meredith (Gordon); sons Christopher (Christel) and John; daughter Heather (Matt); and five grandchildren.

Lee was born to Harold and Phyllis Gray on August 9, 1940 in Marshalltown, Iowa. He was raised in nearby State Center, before the family relocated to Englewood, and then Arvada, Colorado. He was a three-sport letterman at Arvada High School, where he garnered All-Conference honors in football as a defensive tackle. After graduation, Lee moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University (CSU), where he played freshman football, studied Business Administration, and sang in the CSU Singers. He met his wife Karlin in the CSU Singers (under the direction and strict supervision of his future Father in Law, Edward Anderson) and they were married in 1964. Lee received a Master’s degree in Economics at CSU, after which he and Karlin moved to Pullman, Washington; where he earned a Ph. D in Agricultural Economics at Washington State University. While at WSU, Lee won the American Agricultural Association award for his dissertation and received the first funded research award for developing an input-output model for water use in Colorado. Upon completion of his PhD, Lee returned to CSU to join the Economics Department faculty.

Lee took tremendous pride in teaching and loved his students. He was recognized for his teaching abilities most notably, as a recipient of the Oliver P. Pennock Award for excellence in teaching. He was voted a “Top Prof” by his students. His achievements included the Western Agricultural Economic Association (WAEA) Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Faculty Award for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Eventually Lee’s career moved into administration. He served as Chairman of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics for 15 years and as Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences for two years. As he transitioned into retirement, Lee returned to his primary professional love, teaching. In 2018, he was inducted into the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Hall of Fame.

Lee was an accomplished bass soloist. He sang roles in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Carmen, Faust, and The Magic Flute. He also appeared as a soloist with the Larimer Chorale, St. Luke’s Bach Festival, and the Fort Collins Chamber Chorale. He was also a very competitive handball player for several decades, was an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins and passed along the gift of fly fishing to his family. Lee was an instant and compassionate friend to all, quick to share a warm handshake or hug. He was a loving husband and father and will be sorely missed.

In compliance with Covid19 restrictions, a Celebration of Life for the family only will be held on Friday, July 31st, 11:00am, at First Presbyterian Church. It will be streamed for friends to watch and hear from First Pres on the website https://firstpresfc.org/worship/live-streaming/.

Memorials may be directed to First Presbyterian Church Music Program or Colorado State University Foundation Lee Gray Scholarship in care of Allnutt, 650 West Drake Road, FC 80526


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, July 31, 2020


Dr. Lee Gray

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tara Boeck

August 10, 2020

My name is Tara I work for the City of Fort Collins. This news of Lee just shatters my heart. One memory of Lee I’ll never forget my dad had been going through heart issues and he had two big heart surgeries coming up Lee could tell I was worried he took me off to the side and prayed for my dad with me. I will never forget how he always told me every morning my smile made all the Seniors day. He will be TRULY missed. I wish I would have seen him one more time.
Rest in Paradise Lee we love you!

Walt Schuchmann

July 31, 2020

Lee was a stalwart member and leader of First Presbyterian Church. Even in difficult times, and there were some, he reminded the Session (church leadership) of the importance of prayer and scripture in finding our way. And he did so with his trademark grin. Farewell, friend, and peace be with all of the family.

Leenya Rideout

July 31, 2020

Karlin and Lee Gray were a huge part of my musical upbringing. As a member of the children's choir at St. Luke's Church led by Karlin I was exposed to beautiful music and her musical direction/interpretation which I carry with me to this day in my professional career as a Broadway/Off-Broadway Actor/singer. I remember Lee's beautiful bass voice and his relationship with Karlin was an inspiration to me and my husband's marriage to this day. I have very fond memories of my close friendship with their son Chris through choir and youth group and even High School Homecoming! My big regret now is having lost decades of time with this family after leaving Fort Collins in the 90's, but I know they have inspired and touches the lives of many. Lee's gentle soul will always be a light to the world...

Marcy Palm

July 31, 2020

While I only met Lee a few times, I know what a strong and loving father he was and the impact his life and his death have had on Heather and Matt, and the rest of the family. Love and hugs to all of you as you remember Lee and experience life without him. Thank you for sharing his service with us.

Marcy & Dave Palm

Dwaine Umberger

July 31, 2020

Lee and I attended several classes together at WSU. I remember he would occasionally suffer migraine headaches. But he would never be cross and was always friendly. He was a good friend, a great student, and as my daughter can attest to--a great leader. He will be missed.

Nancy Cary Race

July 31, 2020

So sad to hear of your loss. Dr. Gray was a pillar and a caring friend, father, husband, educator and leader. He made my life the joy it was and still is today by offering me the department secretary position. He was by far my best "boss" and was amazingly kind and fair. He championed all who came into his life. He will be missed. God bless.

Shelley Tracy

July 30, 2020

Dr. Gray holds a very special place in my heart as he exemplified the kind of educator I wanted to be. I took his Environmental Economics class in the late 80s. He had such an intuitive way of knowing just what his students needed in order to learn the content. At times when we were frustrated, we would go for walks to the Sherwood Forest on campus, often discussing basketball on the way. Before we knew it, we were back talking about the lesson at hand and seeing it from a different vantage point. I have now been a middle school teacher for 28 years. I still think about him and all he taught me as I navigate my students' diverse needs. Early in my career, I went back to visit him and shared my appreciation. So glad that I did. He was a great mentor, a loving teacher, and an endlessly kind man. My thoughts are with the Gray family. (Heather, I was a student teacher/volleyball assistant at CLP when you were there. I still remember your sweet smile. I was Shelley McGhee back then.

Paul Anawaty

July 30, 2020

To Karlin and all of the Gray family,

I am so very sorry to learn of Lee's death. I didn't know
that he had been sick. But since moving to North Platte
four years ago, I've been out of touch with most of my
Fort Collins friends.

I have many musical memories of Lee ... from CSU Opera
to the Chamber Chorale. My most vivid memory of him,
however, is from 50 years ago on the handball court.

In the fall of 1970, I had just arrived at CSU to begin work
towards my Master's in Music. And all throughout that
year, I'd see Lee playing handball at Moby Gym. He played
with an intensity that I wished I had. I enjoyed watching
him play.

My prayer for you, Karlin, and each of your family, is that your
memories of Lee will sustain you in this difficult time, and
in the days ahead.

With sincerest sympathy,
Paul Anawaty
North Platte, NE

Lisa Janssen Alderson

July 29, 2020

John, Chris, Heather and Karlin:
My thoughts are with you and your family. Dr. Gray was an amazing individual. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him. Although it's been MANY years, I still have great memories of the warmth of your family, backyard BBQs with Lee at the grill, and Lee's fantastic voice. I miss you all and am sending my hugs and love to you virtually.

Warm regards,
Lisa (Janssen) Alderson

Neil Grigg

July 29, 2020

Lee was a super guy, and I'll miss him. I worked in various capacities with him at CSU for many years and he was always helpful, as well as professional. He was also an exemplary man in many ways, sharing his faith and good will. In today's world, we need more folks like Lee.

Neil Grigg


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