OBITUARY

William Earl Gray

October 11, 1936May 12, 2021
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William E. Gray, Jr, Born to Earl and Grace Gray 10/1111936 in Waynesboro, MS. Preceded in death by his Grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Walter P. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brewer, Parents, Earl and Grace Gray and brother, Floyd Gray.

Preceded in death by his daughter Suzonne Elizabeth Gray. Survived by His wife of 62 years, Jean Packard Gray son, David Michael Gray (and his wife, Melody) of Mobile, AL.

William Started Piano lessons at age 5, At 13, Became the Organist for his home church, First Methodist Church, Waynesboro, Mississippi & at 15 Organist-Choirmaster. Graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1955. His High School Organ & Piano Teacher was Mazie Vaughan Mackrell, Laurel, MS. Attended LSU and Graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in organ & a Master of Music Degree. His LSU Organ Teacher was Professor Frank Collins. He studied privately in New York City with Concert Organist, Ernest White.

Married his wife of 62 years Jean Packard in Conway, Arkansas. Held many church positions including First Methodist Church, Waynesboro, MS., First Methodist Church, Columbia, MS., Brainerd United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN., Mayflower Congregational Church, Grand Rapids, MI. Church Street United Methodist Church, Knoxville, TN., First- Trinity Presbyterian Church, Laurel, MS. Along with teaching positions at Tennessee Wesleyn College, Athens, TN (Organ), Southern Missionary College, Collegedale, TN (Organ), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (Organ and Church Music)

He was employed throughout his life in the Pipe Organ Industry with Moller Organ Company, Hagerstown, MD as Area Representative - Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi & Louisiana. National Manager for Design and Sales, Company President. Rieger Kloss, Czech Republic as United States Representative for Sales and Design and Austin Organ Company as a Designer and Sales.

In his career, he was involved in the design of over 100 Pipe Organs, his family business of retail furniture. Manager of Gray Funiture Company after father died and mother was in Assisted Living. He closed Gray Furniture Company after mother's death, returned to Pipe Organ Business.

William was a member of several professional organizations; Phi Mu Alfa Sinfonia Music Fraternity LSU Student Council, Representing the School of Music, American Guild of Organists, Dean of Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville Chapters, Sub Dean of South Mississippi Chapter Regional Chairman for the South Eastern United States, Member of the National Council Chaired Regional AGO Conventions in Chattanooga and Knoxville, Chaired the 2012 National Convention of the American Guild of Organist that met in Nashville, Tennessee. The Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians,Diaconal Minister (retired) in the United Methodist Church, was in the first class of Diaconal Ministers. Rotarian - Columbia, Waynesboro and Nashville (Bellevue) Chapters

  • FAMILY

  • Suzonne Elizabeth Gray, Daughter (deceased)
  • Jean Packard Gray, Wife of 62 Years
  • David Michael (Melody) Gray, Son
  • Preceded in death by his daughter . Survived by His wife of 62 years, son, (and his wife, Melody) of Mobile, AL.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, May 16, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Sunday, May 16, 2021

  • Reception

    Sunday, May 16, 2021

Memories

William Earl Gray

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Delilah Martineau

May 16, 2021

I’ll never forget coming back to Trinity Presbyterian in Laurel Ms, after grad school at Ole Miss. Bill was interim Choir Master, around 1999. With 5 kids, Bert and I depended on the nursery on Wednesday night, for our twin toddler boys, during rehearsals. One Wednesday night, at the last minute, the nursery worker couldn’t stay, so we decided that one of us would go to rehearsal and one would keep the boys, in the nursery. Bill, wouldn’t hear of it! He insisted that both of us would rehearse and the boys would bring a quiet toy and play under the baby grand, that evening! With the choir sitting in a circle around the piano, Bill, quite masterfully, played, directed and baby sat twin boys, with a good natured smile and not a hint of aggravation! Every once in a while, he’d lean down, look under the piano and say, “Shhh, You boys are being awfully good, tonight!” Lol, not exactly true but he surely made our family feel special, for him to have gone to so much trouble, for us. We’ll always remember Bill for his extraordinary talent, with such attention to musical details and the love that he showed for our family. Our prayers are with Mrs Jean and family, in this time of loss.

Stephanie Call

May 13, 2021

I have heard several stories about Bill my adopted dad lives in Nashville and he and Bill would always have lunch at least once a week and I would call after lunch and ask how lunch was and the response would be it was a yelling match because Bill couldn't hear because he wouldn't where his hearing aids.

I am so sorry for your loss....

Stephanie

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