In the presence of his loving family, Mark peacefully passed away Monday, July 16th at home. He was born Mark Joseph Gray to Joseph and Evelyn Gray of Salem, Oregon.
Mark attended St. Joseph Elementary and Serra Catholic High School. His classmates knew Mark as an intelligent, quick witted fun-loving guy. Mark loved sports, especially football. Excelling in football he was offered a scholarship to Oregon State University following in the footsteps of his father Joe Gray. In 1965 Serra Catholic won the A-2 state championship. Mark was very proud of his team. In Mark’s senior year of high school his football days ended after suffering a devasting knee injury.
Mark chose OCE (Western Oregon University) for college. While there, Mark made many new friends. Many of the friendships Mark developed over the years became life-long friends.
In 1973 Mark began working for the City of Salem. His career led him to become Superintendent of the Streets Department and later moving on to become the Parks Department Superintendent. He retired from the city of Salem after 30 years of service.
Mark had fun in life with many great memories with his group of friends. Going camping at Clearlake, hiking into Marion Lake, playing softball on the “No Stars” and the annual “World Series of Poker” at Black Butte where he earned the nickname of ‘Ol’Timer’. Mark was also a huge Beavers fan watching and attending many games with his friends.
Softball became a big part of Mark’s life when his daughters started playing. He became their coach and also coached many young ladies who remember him well. Mark and several other softball dads built the dugouts for the girls at McKay High School. Mark was especially proud when the McKay Softball team his daughter Jessie played on (along with several girls he coached) clinched the valley league championship title in 1996.
Mark was not done with softball. His granddaughter Dani played. Mark went to every game at McNary and then onto Willamette University, proudly sitting right behind home plate. He was her biggest fan.
Mark was always very supportive in which ever sport the kids chose to play.
After raising five daughters, Mark was overjoyed when his first grandson was born with 3 more to follow. Football was back!
As a family we have many happy great memories of Dad. His love of gardening, music, dancing, a good party, trips to the beach, mountains, spending time with friends and family, and his love for animals especially dogs. Most important was the love he had for his wife, children, and grandchildren.
We love you Dad and Grandpa and miss you beyond words.- Children and grandkids
I will see you again Ol’Timer- I love you honey and miss you every day- Your wife Jan
Preceded in death by his parents Joe and Evelyn Gray, and sister Joanne Gray.
Survivors include Marks wife Jan, daughters Jurhee (Chris) Walling, Shannon Gray, Janae Davis-Saunders, Jaime Castro, and Jessica (Joe) Brister. Grandchildren Ashley-husband Alex, Jordon, Dakota, Danielle, Gracee, Kate, Zane, Owen, and Drew. Father-in-law Clyde Eldred, nephew Tim Nelson, and niece Michelle Nelson.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, July 28, 2018 from 12pm-3pm at the Elks Lodge, 2336 Turner Rd. SE Salem, Oregon 97302. In lieu of flowers Mark request any donations be made to Willamette Humane Society or Brighton Hospice 12725 SW 66th Ave Ste.107 Tigard, Oregon 97223. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
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With Heartfelt Sympathy to the Gray Family,
May you rely on the God of all comfort to help you to endure the days ahead.