Richard "Dick" Gray of Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Jekyll Island, Ga., passed away on Tuesday, June 13. He was 74 years old.
Dick was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Atlanta. He attended Marist High School, then went on to earn his bachelor's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master's degree from Auburn University. His career in adult and continuing education spanned more than 30 years, and he retired as Dean of Economic Development for DeKalb Technical College.
After retirement, he and his wife, Molly, split their time between the mountains of eastern Tennessee and the shores of southeast Georgia; they shared more than 28 years of marriage. Dick was an avid runner for several decades, and he loved all things outdoors, including hiking, camping and gardening. He was also an ardent sports fan, particularly of college football (his two favorite teams were the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and whichever team was playing UGA. . . ). However, his most treasured pastime was being an amazing grandfather, whether spearheading trips to Disney World, giving body surfing lessons in the ocean waves, or serving up root beer floats and strawberry shortcake for breakfast.
Dick is survived by his wife, Molly; his three children: Alan Gray (Melenie Parkes) of Auckland, New Zealand; Carrie McGowan (Mike) of Canton, Ga.; and Patrick Gray (Tracy) of Tryon, NC; his grandchildren: Amanda Budd; Harrison, Brianna, Sarah, Jeffrey and Rudy Gray; and Jake, John and Will McGowan. He is also survived by his sister Susan Bennett (Andy) of Atlanta, nephew Chris Bennett (Jen Fralick) of Henderson, NV, and by the mother of his children, Barbara Gray of Kennesaw, Ga. He is preceded in death by his grandson, Adam Budd.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held at the Mynatt Park Pavilion in Gatlinburg on Sunday, July 30, at 11 a.m. Friends who plan to attend may wish to think of stories and remembrances of Dick to share. Donations in Dick's memory may be made to Friends of the Smokies, any cancer research organization, or any local Humane or Rescue Society.