Cover photo for James William Gray's Obituary
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1925 James 2016

James William Gray

July 8, 1925 — July 8, 2016

JAMES WILLIAM GRAY July 8, 1925 – July 8, 2016       James William Gray, son of James R. and Elizabeth (Blood) Gray, was born July 8, 1925 at the farm in Traverse County, MN. The Dr. came out 14 miles by buggy to deliver him. He went to country school through 8th grade and then graduated from Graceville Public School in 1943. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp in February 1943.  His first love was always flying so he trained in pilot and gunnery school in a B-17 WWII Bomber.  Jim married Edna Geyer January 21, 1946 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Collis, MN and was discharged from the Army Air Corp that same year.  Jim applied to airplane mechanic school under a VA program and worked at a casket factory making $.90 per hr.  After he completed school, they moved to Pembina, ND where he worked at the airport.  In the fall of 1948, they returned home to help his father on the family farm.  During their marriage they were blessed with 5 children.  Although Jim continued to farm, in 1972 they moved to Graceville, where he later retired in 1990.  They moved to Park Rapids in 2003 to spend more time with family until health issues brought them back to Grace Village in Grace Home.  They moved to Menahga, MN in 2009, and after Edna's death later that year, he remained there.  Jim died peacefully on his birthday July 8, 2016 in Park Rapids.       He was active in the American Legion, Farmers Union, NFO, and Knights of Columbus.  Jim felt proud to serve as a Eucharistic Minister for Holy Rosary Church, serving on the church council and Cemetery boards.  He also enjoyed attending Ecumenical Prayer group, fishing and hunting.  He loved flying, singing, history, and visiting old friends.  Jim's greatest joys were his children, grandchildren, and above all his God and Savior.       Wherever Jim was, he tried to brighten this world with kind words to all.  Jim's philosophy of life could be summed up in the words to this song:  We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.       He is survived by his two sons, Greg (Deb) Gray Park Rapids, Brian (Kathy) Gray of Park Rapids, two daughters, Correen (Lyle) Pederson of Dumont, Sue (Tom) Vanderwal of Park Rapids, and a sister, Dorothy Atton of Cupertino, CA.  He has 16 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren.       Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Edna of 63 years, daughter Charlene, a half-brother Harold, three sisters, Meryle Heidemann, Lucille Cota, and Jean Paulson, and a great granddaughter Morgan Stinar.       Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 AM Thursday, July 14, 2016 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Graceville, MN with Father Brian Oestreich officiating.  Interment will follow in Graceville Cemetery with Military Honors. Visitation will be held one hour prior to service at the church on Thursday. To view the video tribute or leave online condolences, please visit jonespearson.com.
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