Ian Frederick Gray, former resident of Niagara Falls, NY, Newport News, VA, Charleston, WV, Raleigh, NC, Blowing Rock, NC, Murrells Inlet, SC and most recently Niceville, FL, passed away July 9, 2021 at the age of 81. He is preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Joan.
Ian was born February 1, 1940, in Niagara Falls, NY and grew up as the middle child of three children. Ian enjoyed playing hockey during his childhood and became a lifelong fan of the sport. He met his wife Joan while in high school and they were married in 1963, right before he began his studies at Bryant and Stratton Community College in Buffalo, New York. Ian served two years in the Army as an MP and received commendations for marksmanship. Ian and Joan raised two children, Bryan and Cheryl upon their move to Newport News, VA.
Ian began his professional career with Prudential Insurance in Newport News, VA, as a Sales Agent in 1967 and quickly rose to Division Manager, then Regional Field Consultant. His rise through the ranks took him to Charleston, WV in 1974, where he served as Manager for four years, and then to Raleigh, NC in 1978, where he became General Manager. Ian’s journey with Prudential gave him the opportunity to travel and establish lifelong friends. In 1989, Ian retired from Prudential and he and Joan moved to Blowing Rock, NC to become the new owners of the Mountainaire Inn and Log Cabins. As proprietor of the Mountainaire and a member of the town council, Ian enjoyed getting to know travelers and loved the small town feel of Blowing Rock. After a shocking diagnosis of throat cancer, Ian underwent a total Laryngectomy procedure in 1993. He was one of the first recipients of the Blom Singer Valve, which gave him the ability to speak minus his vocal cords. Ian became an advocate for other Laryngectomy patients and was an active spokesman for UNC Chapel Hill, where he had his surgery. A second retirement in 1999 took Ian and Joan to Murrells Inlet, SC, where Ian perfected his golf game and worked at The International Club. Ian and Joan became very active in their church and made lifelong friends. Many years later, Ian and Joan moved to Niceville, FL, to be closer to family. While in Niceville, Ian became involved with the Bluewater Bay Men’s Golf Association, enjoyed playing golf several times a week, and worked as a starter at Bluewater Bay Golf Course.
Ian was a devoted and loving husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend.
Ian is survived by his brother Bruce Gray (Margaret) of Park Rapids, MN, son Bryan Gray (Karen) of Denver, CO, daughter Cheryl Strickler (Ben) of Niceville, FL, and four grandchildren Taylor and Thomas Strickler and Alexandra and Connor Gray.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Ian at Crosspoint Church, Niceville campus (214 Partin Drive South, Niceville, FL, 32578), on July 15. Service at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to causes Ian supported - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The American Cancer Society and Crosspoint Church.
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