EAST VASSALBORO – Gary Allen Gray, 56, passed away Feb. 9, 2009, at his home, after a long illness. Gary was born Nov. 14, 1952, in Waterville, the son of Allen and Prudence (Bartley) Gray. Gary was a lifelong resident of the area, graduating in 1971 from Waterville High School and, after attending the University of Maine, returned to the area to work for Masse’s Lumber. Gary utilized his love and understanding of the outdoors to become a highly skilled timber assessor, traveling throughout the area selecting high-grade logs for processing at the mill. He quickly became a master sawyer who knew how to get the best products out of a log with a keen eye and smooth control of the saw. After several years fulfilling the role of general manager, Gary and Paula purchased the mill in 1990 and successfully ran the business until forced to close in 2000. Gary then went to work for DP Industries until forced to medically retire in 2007. When not running his business Gary was involved in almost any activity that allowed him to enjoy and share his love of the outdoors with his family. As a long-standing committee member of the Winslow Troop of the BSA, Gary fostered and encouraged both his sons as they worked towards attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Gary worked summer weekends for North Country Rivers, carrying hundreds of people from Maine and all over the world down the Kennebec River while sharing his knowledge of the Maine woods, the local history and the geology of the river while providing them the thrill of white water rafting. To keep his mind active during the quiet times Gary continued his love of history through his collection of stamps and coins – learning the meaning behind the people and events being commemorated and memorialized. An avid reader, he always wanted to know more of the facts surrounding current events and typically had a small stack of books around him at any given moment. Ever the movie buff, almost all films related to history, nature or action and adventure were in favor, but you can bet any movie with John Wayne is located on the center shelf and within easy reach. But perhaps the day he looked forward to more than any other, and will be sorely missed in the celebration of, was Christmas. Gary enjoyed the season, for which he began planning in July, and enjoyed the holidays as thoroughly and completely as any man could. Gary is survived by his wife of 34 years, Paula; and their three children, Jeremy Gray of East Vassalboro, Joshua Gray of Carlsbad, Calif., and Erin Gray of East Vassalboro. Gary is also survived by his mother, Prudence; sister, Ann Gray-Clark and children, Travis Clark and Sarah Clark; sister, Lynne Gray; and his brother, Douglas Gray, all of East Vassalboro. Gary will also be sadly missed by his extended family, Stephen Paoletti of Costa Mesa, Calif., Karen and Mickey Jones of East Millinocket, Lt. Matthew Jones, serving with the U.S. Navy in Kuwait, Samantha Jones of Denver, Thomas and Ellen Paoletti of Lincoln, Patrick Paoletti of Rhode Island, Frank Paoletti of Phoenix, Ariz., Jim Schlegel of Phoenix, Ariz., and Mollie Tobin of Longbeach, Calif. Gary was predeceased by his father, Allen Gray, in November 1994. After a private memorial for family members, a public memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at Veilleux Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Waterville. A reception will be after the service. As a result of his long illness the family has accrued an enormous amount of medical costs and those wishing to do so are encouraged to make a donation towards reducing that debt in lieu of flowers by mailing a contribution to the Gray family, P.O. Box 101, East Vassalboro, ME 04935.