NORMAN — Thomas Gene Gray, 69, passed away Feb. 27, 2013. He was born at home on Oct. 29, 1943, in Heavener.
Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Harvest Church, 6450 36th Ave. NW in Norman, with interment following in the IOOF Cemetery in Norman.
He was an exceptionally wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Tom was raised in Waldron, Ark. There, he developed a strong work ethic by working for family businesses from a very young age. These businesses included a grocery store, a Dairy Zest and a boat dock and restaurant on Lake Ouachita.
He was a Boy Scout and was extremely athletic. He played varsity basketball and was the quarterback of the Waldron Bulldogs. Tom was respected, loved, loyal and known as an honorable man.
Tom met his true love, Nancy Raney, from Booneville, Ark., in high school. They were married in 1962 and were happily married for more than 50 years. Tom graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in finance in 1965. They then moved to Norman, where he successfully completed a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1967. While earning his MBA, he worked as a business consultant for the Oklahoma Economic Development Foundation. As a result, he bought into one of these businesses, Omeco Inc., which in turn initiated his love for entrepreneurialism.
Tom acquired his real estate broker’s license and partnered in and developed several properties in Norman, including The Trails Golf Club, Prairie Creek housing addition and others. His most exciting entrepreneurial business was Midwest Pacific Resources Corporation, a railroad contracting business developed in 1985, operating out of Spokane, Wash. This proved to be a long-running successful partnership with Burlington Northern Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad and Montana Rail Link.
It was during these years that Tom, Nancy and family spent much time traveling the Pacific Northwest. There, Tom pursued some of his favorite hobbies of fly-fishing and snow skiing in Montana and Idaho.
Tom never fully retired because he enjoyed working. His latest ventures included investments in new home construction with his son, Ben, and operating G&G Cattle Company with his son-in-law, Fred. He enjoyed the challenge of conquering these new businesses and spent many hours bulldozing and making land improvements on one of his properties in Konawa.
His children Jayne, Kristan and Ben have always been actively involved in the various family businesses. Tom’s passions were his family and doing the work of the Lord. Tom was raised a Methodist and grew up learning the old hymns as his Mema Gray played the church piano. Tom was instrumental in the formation and construction of Riverside Church, where he served as a deacon for many years and in the building projects of other churches. He had a very tender spirit and was easily touched by those in need. He often helped those who approached him at various locations and would ask if they knew Jesus.
Tom was an exceptionally hard worker — and played even harder. He enjoyed boating, fishing, hunting, golf, snow and water skiing, basketball, etc. His favorite places on earth were Lake Ouachita in Arkansas and western Montana.
Tom was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Rawlings Gray; father, I.T. (Buddy) Gray; granddaughter, Amanda Jayne Green; brothers-in-law Jerry Minor and Patrick Raney; and sister-in-law, Martha J. Raney.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy Truett Raney Gray of the home; daughter, Nancy Jayne Gray Green and husband Fred of Washington; grandsons Thomas Frederick and Luke Riley; granddaughter, Madeleine Nancy Green; daughter, Jeane Kristan Gray Ringer and husband Brian of Norman; grandson, Gray Michael; granddaughter, Aimee Grace; son, Benjamin Thomas and wife Joanna of Norman; granddaughters Anna Marie and Sarah Jayne; also his sisters Lois Wade and husband Jerry, Rose Ann Minor and Tina Holmes and husband Leonard, all of Ark.; sisters-in-law Judith Wisley of Norman and Mary Reese and husband James of Ark.; two half brothers, Michael Gray and Dr. Torin Gray; two half sisters, Jada Gray and Lael Lynch; one beloved uncle, Robert Ray Rawlings and wife Beverly; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank all of the caregivers and especially those at MD Anderson and OU Cancer Center.
Memorials may be made to Harvest Church, 6450 36th Ave. NW, Norman, OK 73072; or City Rescue Mission, 800 W. California Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73106.
The Gray family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook St. in Norman.
Arrangements for Thomas and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family of Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.
Norman Transcript, Friday, March 1, 2013