Arthur Leroy Gray 11/4/1943 - 3/8/2022
Art passed peacefully at Meadowlark Retirement Village after a long battle with Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. He was born in Muskegon, Michigan, the second son of Emaline Hanke and Wayne Gray. Art grew up in Holton, Michigan and graduated from Holton High School in 1962. In high school he met his first wife, Patricia (Koehler) Gray. They married in November of 1962. In 1963 their first child, David, was born. During that time Art worked full time at Muskegon Piston Ring and went to Muskegon Community College, eventually transferring to Western Michigan University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in teaching with an emphasis on Industrial Arts and Drafting.
He began his teaching career in the fall of 1969 at Fremont High School in Fremont, MI where he taught wood shop, metal shop, automotive and drafting. His love of teaching was evident early on in his career. At the end of his first school year he was awarded Outstanding First Year Educator for Secondary Education by the Fremont School Board. During Art’s second school year in 1970 he and Patricia welcomed their only daughter, Marci. A few years later in 1973 their son Jamie was born and completed their family. Art taught adult wood shop classes in the evenings and enjoyed the many adult students who participated in his classes. He was active in the Fremont Education Association(FEA) teacher’s union and often was chief bargainer for the FEA, as well as holding the FEA President’s position. Art was an active member of the Michigan Education Association(MEA) and for many years was the region 13 MEA representative and attended the National Education Association(NEA) convention held throughout the country.
In the fall of 1989 he transitioned from Fremont High School to Fremont Middle School. There he transformed the Industrial Arts program and expanded the offering to include computer modules for subjects that gave the students a lead in to the trade programs offered at the area vocational technical center. His goal was to help kids who would likely not attend college find trade programs that would develop into future careers. The lab was the first of its kind in Michigan. In 2001 Art was awarded the honor of Excellence in Education by the Fremont Area Foundation. He retired from teaching in 2003.
During the mid ’80’s Art began helping his friend and co-worker, Jack Sanderson, train his horses for harness racing and instantly fell in love with horses and racing. He spent 30 plus years training Standard Bred horses and racing on the fair circuit in Michigan as well as the para-mutual tracks on the east side of the state, in Muskegon and in the Chicago area.
Art is survived by his daughter Marci Gray (Bill Preble) of Fremont, MI and his son Jamie (RaChel) Gray of Sparta, MI. Additionally he is survived by his brother Dale (Celeste) Gray of Grand Ledge, MI, his sister Patricia (Bill) Kempf of Whitehall, MI his brother Edward Hanke of Diamond Lake, MI, his brother Delbert Gray of Mooresville, IN, his brother Gerald Gray of Mooresville, IN, and his brother Henry Gray of Newbern, TN. He is also survived by his six grandchildren Ryan (Joanna) Gray, Randy (Melina) Gray, Jeremy (Charlie) Russo, Jordan Gray, Joseph Gray, Olivia Gray his great-granddaughter Alayna Gray and great-grandson Gordon Gray.
He is preceded in death by his oldest son, David Alan Gray, his mother Emaline Hanke, his dad Robert Hanke, his father Wayne Gray, his sisters Mary Katherine Gray and Judith Ann Brummett, and his brothers Wayne Gray Jr, Milan (Mike) Califf and David F. Gray.
A happy hour celebration of Art’s life will be held on Friday, March 25, 2022 at the Stone Lodge in Fremont from 3-7 PM. Suggested Memorials: Fremont High School Industrial Arts Program, or Meadowlark Retirement Village Benevolence Fund. You can sign the online guest book at www.kroeze-wolffis.com. Arrangements are by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home, Inc. of Fremont.
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Fremont High School Industrial Arts Program
5421 S. Warner Avenue, Fremont MI 49412
Meadowlark Retirement Village Benevolence Fund
65 Ida Red Avenue, Sparta MI 49345