James Michael Gray III
Crossed the Bar
June 28, 2021

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Updated:  07/07/2021
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07/06/2021- Obit ref sent by Ben Stoppe
John M. Gray III | Obituaries |
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  John Michael Gray III, 72, of Southern Pines, formerly of Groton, Conn., passed away peacefully at FirstHealth Hospice House Monday, June 28, 2021, after a courageous battle against MDS and leukemia.

He was born in 1948 in Mobile, Ala., to John and Marion Gray.

  Mike graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1972, retiring as a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard after 27 years of service. He was selected and attended the U.S. Army War College in 1991. He was stationed from Sitka, Alaska, to San Juan, Puerto Rico and along the East Coast. Throughout his career his achievements and commendations were numerous. He also earned his M.B.A. from Suffolk University and a master’s degree in economics from Brown University.

Mike’s funeral details are as follows.

   A visitation will be held on Saturday, July 3 from 10:30 – 11:30AM at Boles Funeral Home, 425 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Southern Pines, NC 28387. A funeral service will begin at 11:30AM and burial will follow with military honors at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Southern Pines, NC.

   In lieu of flowers, and in memory of Mike please consider a donation to the Coast Guard Foundation at where you may type his name in the memoriam section or by mail to:

Coast Guard Foundation
394 Taugwonk Road
Stonington, CT 06378-1807


John M. "Mike" Gray, In Memoriam

To:  Members of the Class of ’72, Class Correspondents and Staff:
I am sorry to inform you that the Alumni Association has been notified of the death of CAPT John M. “Mike” Gray, USCG (Ret) on June 28, 2021, in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Mike is survived by his wife of 46 years, Debra Gray; two daughters, Corinne Gray and Krista Gray (Greg Rust); three grandchildren, Jaden Michael Del Risco Gray, Colton Michael Rust and Boden Gray Rust; his sister Brenda Jacklin (Charlie), brother Marion Gray (Judy); sister-in-law Janet French Gray (Terry), and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and close friends. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Wyatt Gray. 
Condolences may be sent to:
            Mrs. Debra Gray
            94 Plantation Dr
            Southern Pines, NC  28387-2967
A visitation will be held on Saturday, July 3 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Boles Funeral Home, 425 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Southern Pines, North Carolina 28387. A funeral service will begin at 11:30 a.m. and burial will follow with military honors at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Southern Pines, North Carolina. 
The family requested in lieu of flowers, and in memory of John, to please consider a donation to the Coast Guard Foundation in honor of Mike, or by mail to Coast Guard Foundation, 394 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, Connecticut 06378. Online condolences may be left at Boles Funeral Home.
Andrea M. Marcille ’89
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret)


===== Classmate Attendees at Funeral Service =======================

Tony Stimatz - 7/3/2021 6:26 PM

Here is pic of those who attended.     L to R: 

Tony Stimatz, Tom Yearout, PC Smith, Stein Mueller, Gil Calhoun and Norm Henslee.
Ceremony was well done.  Opening slide show sparked a lot of laughter and led to PC telling story about Graybo (with his big fish)  and Shaky Shidle (with his very small fish) caught while in Bermuda 2nd class summer.  Both of his daughters, a grandson and a son-in-law spoke about Mike and his wit, his presence and his influence on their lives and the joy they shared as a family.
The Pastor then opened the floor for comments by attendees.  As noted, PC told fish story which fit with Mike’s passion for fishing. I cleaned up the “Mike went swimming in the Thames coming back from libo in London” story, piggybacking on families acknowledgement of Mike’s exuberance for life. Norm put perspective on Mike’s unique linguistic abilities and frequent need for translation.  Buzz, a Navy Vet and friend, spoke of Mike’s stature as a man, husband and father, but only after tweaking us shallow water sailors.  He then gave a final salute.
Mike was escorted to cemetery by very smart and colorful VFW biker detail.  We attended ceremony at Cemetery and observed military honors.  As always a moving experience.
At the end we gathered round and placed our hand on Mike’s coffin and chorused, “Not for one, but for all” 
We adjourned to a local restaurant for lunch and ‘72 ended up sitting with the pastor  We then proceeded to regale him with Graybo, ’72, CGA and CG stories.  He was spellbound.  
Debbie and the rest of the family were extremely grateful for our presence and the effort all made to attend.  PC came all the way from New Hampshire, taking a boat from small island to mainland, then flying in to Phillie to share ride with Stein coming from Allentown, PA. 
It was an honor to be there.


Norman Henslee 5:10 AM Via  Objee

Pics from Graybo’s internment. Note the VFW group holding American flags on the sidelines. A beautiful display of honor and appreciation. 

===== Class Emails =======================

Susan Beasley - 6/30/2021 7:41 AM  

I am saddened to hear of Mike’s passing and offer my deepest sympathies to Debbie and their family. I have fond memories of time spent with him and his classmates in Somers and New London, including meeting and then marrying Hampton (Eddie) Beasley, who crossed the bar almost 15 years ago.  Prayers that he rests in peace and that Debbie and his children find comfort during these difficult days. Susan Beasley


Tom Meyers - 7/3/2021 4:24 AM

Mike Gray front and center surrounded by a few classmates from Foxtrot company just before Christmas leave, 1968.  Graybo was my wife for most of swab year and I share others' memories of him as as a funny, gravel mouthed barely understandable southerner which masked his smarts.  One of my fondest memories of him was when Mike "Beads" Flessner had him memorize the Lewis Carroll poem "Jabberwocky."   Non-sensical words that were hard to understand in themselves, made only more confusing by Graybo's southern inflection (e.g., 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves....).  I still hear him struggling to spit it out and can't help but think about him and laugh.  RIP, friend.

  Tom Meyers

    Tom Meyers


Joe Kyle - 7/3/2021 6:30 AM

  You are the best Tom Meyers. One thing you Yankees never knew was that we southerners couldn’t understand Mike either. Maybe Gil Calhoun could unscramble him a bit, but Mike’s accent was totally unique, as was he.
Love to all, Joe


Gordon Hanson - 7/3/2021 2:12 PM

Mike was my wife for a while swab summer.  Because I heard different names, I asked him what he was called.  He said something like “Well . . . my . . Momma . .  calls . . me . .  John . . and . . my . . Daddy . . calls . . me . . Mike. . and . . some. . others . . call . . me . . [something else].”  I remember referring to him as Garbo (rather than Graybo) because it more fitted his accent.  
 And no, we will never forget3/c cruise in London.  He was a good man and will be missed.