William Gray Jr., 70, of Andover and Edgartown died Tuesday, November 1, 2011, surrounded by his family. William was born in Putnam, Conn., on Nov. 25, 1940, to the late William and Elizabeth (Decker) Gray. He was interred in Spring Grove Cemetery in Andover with full military honors.
As a youngster he played catcher in the newly formed Little League program. He was in the Putnam Congregational Church Boys’ Choir and the Boy Scouts. He learned how to downhill ski at Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, N.H., on family outings.
As a teen he helped drive the family car for several weeks on a cross-country adventure to the West Coast to visit the National Parks.
Bill attended Putnam schools through 8th grade and went on to graduate from Westtown School in West Chester, Penn., and Northeastern University in Boston.Bill was a U.S. veteran having served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years and was stationed on a naval ship off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, along with spending some time on Okinawa.
With his economics degree in hand, Bill entered the work force as a computer software engineer and systems analyst for The John Hancock Insurance Co. He worked there until his retirement. Bill was well-versed in the inner workings of large IBM supercomputers before the advent of the small personal home computer. It was ironic that he was the last member of the family to acquire a PC.
Bill was an active outdoorsman and constantly challenged himself with his many favorite pursuits. He loved to sail and showed up at family parties on his sunfish. He once sailed it solo from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket, some 25 miles. His early interest in skiing was rekindled in recent years and he joined his brother Jack and friends on the New Hampshire slopes. His most enduring interest was his love of long distance running, culminating in the completion of several Boston Marathons.
In 2003, showing an unknown talent, he wrote, produced, and directed a 90-minute family play with his brother and three sisters about the life and times of their mother, Elizabeth Gray. This production included Bill’s selections of songs and dance as well as costumes from the 1930s. It was presented to a large crowd of family and friends to celebrate his mom’s 90th birthday. He bought and learned how to play a guitar just for the show.
William is survived by his wife, Lynn (Daub) Gray, of Andover; his three sons, Todd Gray and his wife, Jennifer, of Ada, Mich., Scott Gray of Boston, and Zachary Gray and his wife, Julie, of Bedford, N.H.; and four grandchildren, Joshua, Olivia, Natalie, and David. Also among his survivors are his three sisters, Lydia Smith and her husband, William, of Gardnerville, Nev., Judith Quattrucci of Stoughton, and Sward Lockwood of Port Charlotte, Fla. He is also survived by his brother Jack Gray and his wife, Claire, of Vineyard Haven, and many nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends.