, Muskogee, OK

April 18, 2013

John Robert Gray

1923 - 2013

— John Gray, 89, longtime Muskogee resident, died April 14th in his home after a lengthy illness.  

He was born May 23, 1923 in Huntington, WV to Robert and Laura Boggs Gray. He lived in Kentucky and West Virginia during his childhood, and graduated from Gassaway (WV) High School in 1941. He served as a bombardier in a US Navy PB4Y aircraft during World War II, patrolling in the Aleutian Islands. John’s Navy training brought him to Oklahoma, and after the war he returned to attend the University of Oklahoma where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy.

On June 1, 1950, John married Katheryn Elaine Aiken in her hometown of Oklahoma City. After graduation in 1951, John and Elaine moved to Muskogee where he started his career as a Pharmacist. He initially worked in retail pharmacy at Pierce’s Drug, and in 1955 began working for the Veterans Administration until his retirement in 1981. It was in Muskogee where his sons were born, John Robert Gray, Jr. and Steven Howard Gray.

John and Elaine joined St. Paul United Methodist Church and were founding members of the Wedding Ring class where they were active for many years. John was an ardent fan of his beloved OU Sooners. He was active with a number of activities including bowling, golf, fishing and bridge. His bowling brought several championships including a medal in the Senior Olympics. He was also active with custom golf club design and repair.

During Elaine’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, John served as her primary caregiver until her death in 2008.  

John was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Laura Helen Gray, his wife Elaine, and a grandson, Benjamin Gray. He is survived by his son J. Robert (Rob) Gray, MD, and his wife Kathy of Tulsa; son Steve Gray and his wife Nancy of Duncan; five grandchildren, Laura Gray Klenda and her husband Bear of Conway, AR; Nathan and Andrew Gray of Tulsa; Kimberly Gray Manning and her husband Scott, of Marlow; and Chris Gray and his wife Jordan of Oklahoma City; and one great grandson, Jayson Manning of Marlow.

A memorial service celebrating John’s life will be held on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm in the Rowsey Chapel of St. Paul United Methodist Church, with Rev. Greg Boyd officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends wishing to remember John do so by making memorial contributions to either The Children’s Center, 6800 N.W. 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK, 73008; or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Tulsa Chapter, at 601 South Boulder Avenue Suite 1300, Tulsa OK 74119.

Memorial services are under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home in Muskogee.  Condolences to the family may be made at