James W. Gray Sr. was born on January 10, 1932 to James Alfred and Edna B. (Mills) Gray, in Gonzales, Texas. He had an older brother, William Roy Gray, and younger sister, Doris Mae (Gray) Hartmann Alderman, all of whom preceded him in death.
James grew up in Guadalupe County, attending grade school in New Berlin, and high school in Marion, Texas. In 1949 his parents signed an Affidavit to allow, not yet 18-year old, James to join the United States Air Force. He attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and was eventually stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.
While in Tucson, James met Ramona Fisher. They married on June 21, 1953. James and Ramona were blessed with 7 children: James Jr., Twins Terry and Jerry (deceased), Charlotte, Glenda (deceased), Bonnie, and Linda.
James had many passions that began with his belief in God, his love of family, his love of community, and passion for his work. He made sure that his family had a church home wherever his family lived, and in those various churches participated in many ways, including congregation member, usher, janitor, furniture builder, and treasurer. In his later years he moved away from congregational religion, but continued Bible study (as witnessed by a well-used and annotated bible, and scores of notes and thoughts about scripture), and prayer.
A devout family man, James loved going camping, served as a boy scout den leader, little league coach/manager, little league president, all while taking on extra jobs to take care of his family.
James’ career in the U.S. Air Force lasted for 22-years, 2-months, and 22-days, retiring in 1971. James and his family were stationed in French Morocco, Tucson and Chandler, Arizona, and Sunnymead, California. He had tours of duty in Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
James moved his family to Marion, Texas in 1971. He began working with Charles Schulz at Hensley Freight Line, where he met many people and enjoyed the work. James then took on a position at Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union as a loan officer. He ended his career with Judson Independent School District as their purchasing agent.
James enjoyed his twenty-four years as a Marion City Council member. The committee work he was most proud of was making sure Marion had a good water supply system. He also enjoyed his time as a Lion’s Club member in Marion. He loved donating his time and working with people on numerous projects.
James and Ramona retired in 1992 and enjoyed trips to Branson, Missouri with brother and sister in laws, working in his garden, working word search books and working puzzles with Ramona. He was very proud of his family, his community and his country and would share that with any and all who would listen. Some of his proudest accomplishments in Marion included the work he contributed to the Veteran’s War Memorial and the Marion Street Light Project.
James is survived by his wife Ramona, children; James W. Gray Jr and Gina, Charlotte and Bill Baker, Bonnie and Vickie Gray, Linda Gray, granddaughters; Lauren and Jason Woolf and children Evan, Mariilyn and Cullen, Danielle and Chris Boyd and children Celeste and Maverick as well as numerous nieces, nephews and close friends.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Goetz Funeral Home Seguin, TX. Funeral Service will be on Friday, March 6, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Marion, TX. Internment will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020 at Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in memory of James Gray to the Marion Community Library P.O. Box 619 Marion, TX 78124 or Hope Hospice of New Braunfels 800-499-7501 or online at hopehospice.net