Obituary for James Hale Gray
Funeral services will be 1 pm Monday at Crestwood Chapel for -Mr. James Hale Gray, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully on November 27, 2017. Reverend Anthony Gomez will officiate. Burial will be in Crestwood Cemetery. Crestwood Funeral Home is in charge of services.
He was predeceased by his parents James Inzer Gray and Ruby Hale Gray, his in-laws William Thomas and Dorothy Scott Crowe, his high school sweetheart and wife of 58 years Gwendyl Sue Crowe Gray, and their only son James (“Jimbo”) William Gray. In addition to his parents, in-laws, wife and son, he is predeceased by his brother Kenneth Wayne Gray.
Hard work was in the very fiber of his being, starting when he was a young boy with his first job at his father’s general store, after which he began driving a delivery truck.
When James and Sue’s first child, Angela Lee ,was born, his father-in-law introduced him to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Gadsden, AL where he began an ambitious 35-year career. While in Gadsden, he was asked by Goodyear to go to Amines, France to train French employees to build tires.
In 1963, after their 2nd child Cynthia Joy and 3rd child James William was born, he and his family were transferred to Freeport, IL for the startup of associate company Kelly-Springfield Tire Company. After 3 years, he and his family were again transferred, this time to Danville, VA for the Goodyear-Danville factory startup. He oversaw the successful performance of the Danville factory with extreme pride, with an emphasis on its organization and cleanliness
After building the very first tire in this factory to be shipped to Akron, OH for curing, he often claimed -- with a smile -- that the tire was so well built that it is still running somewhere on an 18-wheeler to this day.
He instilled his drive for success and teamwork to generations of Danville youth while coaching and refereeing baseball, football and basketball from the early 1960’s to 1980’s. He led the Goodyear Little League team to many local and regional tournaments and was instrumental in bringing the Va State Little League tournament to the fields where he would help the construction of the Goodyear recreational property.
In 1983 Mr. Gray and his wife were transferred to Goodyear in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a position as Plant Manager. While in Malaysia his world changed when he became a grandfather, and his granddaughter, the “apple of his eye”, Lauren Gray Weinerth was born. He never once missed a single dance or theatre performance.
Three years later, he and his wife were transferred to Topeka, KS. After a successful career with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company he took early retirement and joined Dunlop Tire Company as plant manager in Buffalo, NY. Mr. Gray successfully rose through the ranks of Dunlop, and in 1995 he retired as Senior Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Engineering.
Mr. Gray was always proud of his work record and had an extremely successful work ethic. Despite long hours and extensive travel, in his own words, he “loved every minute of it”.
Mr. Gray was a proud member of the Masons of Gadsden, AL, Buffalo, NY and Topeka, KS.
Mr. Gray lost his beloved wife Sue in 2011, after which life for him was never the same.
Mr. Gray is survived by his daughter Angela and Robert Weinerth of Martinsville, VA., his daughter Cynthia and David Dixon of Danville, VA, and his granddaughter Lauren Gray Weinerth and Edward Graham of New York, NY. He is also survived by his brothers and sister-in-laws of Glencoe, AL, Billy Jack and Glenda Gray, Judy Gray, and of Rainbow City, AL, Donny and Janie Gray along with many nieces, nephews and their families. The family owes a great gratitude to his friend and caretaker Ronnie Engle of Shallotte, NC, and the SECU Hospice of Bolivia, NC.
Lees Funeral Home in Little River, SC is serving the Gray family along with Crestwood Funeral Home and Cemetery in Gadsden, AL.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home Monday from 11 am until the time of service..
And lastly, Roll tide.