FREEPORT – R. Paul Gray died Friday, Sept. 19, 2003, while staying at his log cabin in Monroe. He was born June 3, 1931, in Bar Harbor, the son of Harry E. and Phoebe Davis Gray. He graduated from Jackman High School in 1949 and received appointments to both Annapolis and the Maine Maritime Academy, having been nominated by gentlemen he had guided on fly-fishing trips while working at Birch Island Lodge in Holeb. He chose to attend the Maine Maritime Academy, but he would tell anyone that the biggest perk of being a fishing guide for Birch Island Lodge was meeting and falling in love with the lodge owner’s daughter. Gray served in Korea in the Seventh Infantry Division, 32nd Battalion, Dog Company from 1952 through 1954, attaining the rank of sergeant. He used to say that the only reason he got to be sergeant was that there was nobody left! Shortly after returning from Korea, in 1955, he married his sweetheart, Nancy Gail Dyer, who, for the next 48 years, he always referred to as “my beautiful bride.” They resided and raised their family in Gloucester, Mass., where Gray served as vice president of Waterworks Installations Corp. of Canton, Mass., from 1955 until 1979, when he returned to Maine as assistant superintendent of the Gardiner Water District. In 1984, he became an innkeeper at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, a family-owned and operated business, which started as a five-room bed and breakfast and grew to 84 rooms, two restaurants and nine townhouses. In 1995 he retired from inn-keeping and went back to guiding in the Maine woods, which was what he truly loved, having held both a Master Maine Guide license and private pilot’s license for more than 40 years. Paul was an ardent fly-fisherman, and strongly promoted catch and release fishing. He was a great outdoorsman, father and husband, and took his family on many mountain climbing, rock hunting, gold panning, camping and fly-fishing adventures, and by doing so, instilled a deep love and respect of the woods and wildlife in his children, which was one of his greatest legacies. His favorite times were spent with his family, friends and dogs at a remote log cabin he built on the shore of a wilderness pond, fishing the evening hatch and listening to the loons at dusk. In his quiet moments he was an avid reader and bird watcher, and could tame a chipmunk in less than a day and a gray jay in minutes. He was the toughest man with the softest heart we’ll ever know. Knowing him was both an honor and a privilege, and all who loved him will miss him terribly. He was predeceased by a daughter, Jennifer, in 1963; his sister, Mary Lou Alley and his favorite bird dog and faithful companion, Deuce. Surviving in addition to his beloved wife, Nancy, of Freeport; are his daughter, Penelope Reed Gray of Carthage; three sons, Rodney Dyer “Chip” Gray and his wife, Donna, of Freeport, R. Paul Gray Jr. and his wife, Linda, of Windsor, Nathaniel Andrew Gray of Freeport; his brother, Harry E. Gray Jr. of Washburn; four grandchildren; several nieces and nephews and many dear and wonderful friends. It was his wish that he be cremated and that there be no services. He hated fuss. Those wanting to remember him with a memorial gift may contribute to his favorite cause, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter, 14 Main St., Suite 401, Brunswick, ME 04011. Notate check to the Katahdin Forest Project-and then take a walk in the woods.
RICHARD PAUL GRAY
Posted Sept. 25, 2008, at 11:16 p.m.