Lyman Donald (Don) Gray, 83, of Ponca City, died December 15, 2012 at St. John’s Medical Center in Tulsa, OK. He was born on October 10, 1929 in Newkirk, to Lyman Otto Gray and Maria Frances Leven Gray.
He graduated from Holy Family High School in Tulsa where he met and married the mother of his nine children, Clara May (Kay) Groden. They were married on June 25, 1949. Clara preceded him in death on February 14, 1968. Don began working for Conoco in 1949. As a senior analyst, he co-authored the Petroex System, and traveled the US extensively promoting it to the other companies. He was transferred to Houston in 1977 to be part of a newly formed group brought about by the oil crisis in the Middle East where he was named Director of Terminal Automation. While in Houston, He was introduced to his current wife, Michel B. Gavin-Gray by Monsignor W. Martin, and later they were married on September 2, 1977 by Don’s uncle, Bishop Stephen A. Leven of San Angelo. In 1985, Don retired from Conoco and then built and operated his own pecan orchard, The Little Cabin Creek Pecan Company in Vinita, Oklahoma with his wife and children. He later became the Treasurer of the Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association. After the sale of the pecan business, Don and Michel retired Grand Lake until his return to Ponca City in 2002. Upon his return he was involved in conducting tours for the Marland mansion, was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he sang in the funeral choir, and also participated in the RSVP.
Don was preceded in death by his son, Jimmy Gray of Newkirk, and his daughter, Linda Cales of Ponca City.
He is survived by his wife of the home, Michel, and his children; Donnie and Kathy Gray of Vinita, OK; Billy and Ginger Gray of Shidler, OK; Elaine Calahan of Newkirk, OK; Janet and Bruce Evans of Ponca City, OK; Tommy Gray of Grand Lake, OK; Bob and Rhonda Gray of Bartlesville, OK; and Mike and Vicki Gray of Owasso, OK. He also leaves 23 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
A vigil service will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm at Trout Funeral Home Chapel with Deacon Richard Robinson, officiating. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery with Rev. Kevin Ratterman, officiating. Burial will then follow at Newkirk Cemetery in Newkirk, OK. Arrangements are made under the direction of Trout Funeral Home and Crematory.
In lieu of flowers, Don requested that donations be made to the St. Mary’s Catholic School.