more info and photos
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
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
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.
be sent to:
Mrs. Debra Gray
94 Plantation Dr
Southern Pines, NC 28387-2967
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,
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
Andrea M. Marcille
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
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
Norman Henslee 5:10 AM
Pics from Graybo’s internment. Note the VFW group holding
American flags on the sidelines. A beautiful display of honor
===== 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.
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,
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