“Reg” Robert Earl Gray, 78 passed away from cancer on May 6, 2020 at his home in Yoder, Ks.
He was born on September 9, 1941 at the Japanese Hospital in Los Angeles Ca. to Norman Payne Gray and Velma Adelaide Coen Gray.
His parents divorced in 1949, and he spent much of his youth growing up between California with his dad and Kansas with his mom. During those early childhood years he said were the best of times and also the worst of times, which shaped him into the man that he later became.
Reg graduated from Garden City High School in 1959 and then joined the United States Marine Corp in 1960. He proudly served 4 years and then went on to Graduate from Fort Hays State College in 1968 with a Business Degree. During this time he married Nyla Joann Harness of St John. They married on February 19, 1966 and had 3 children together, Scott, Michael, and Valarie. They made their home together in Hays and became members of High Plains Baptist Church where Reg accepted the Lord as his personal savior and was baptized.
After working for the FDIC as a bank Examiner for 5 years, he moved the family to Yoder, Ks in 1973 and accepted the Vice President position at the Yoder State Bank. He worked there for 9 years, and then went on to hold several more positions in the finance world such as Vice President of Haven State Bank and President of Collins financial Services. He decided to explore new avenues and took a job at western auto and ultimately went back to Collins Industries where he retired. It is worth noting that Reg had great work ethic and started working when he was only 10 years old, delivering the paper in Los Angeles California. He said that some early mornings were especially treacherous; since the snails would leave the hilly roads slick, cause a few a wipeouts.
Reg loved to fish, hunt and camp. A love that was born out of trips he had taken with his father and the interesting people they would meet in the mountains and the desert. He spent many years taking his own family camping, water skiing, hiking and hunting. Most trips involved lessons about American History. He was also fascinated and proud of his Scottish heritage and worked hard on leaving a detailed genealogy for his kids and future generations to enjoy. He believed you had to know where you came from to know where you were capable of going. After he retired, he became a Mountain Man and enjoyed going on Rendezvous, with likeminded people who also enjoyed reenacting history.
Reg was a friend to many, and a surrogate father to a few young men throughout the years.
He himself was an only child and he remained close to his childhood friends who he called “brothers” all his life. He was especially close to his cousin Sharon Harkness Siegl who he called “sissy”.
Reg was blessed with a beautiful family and was very proud of all of them. He taught them to always stick up for those who couldn’t defend themselves, and to work hard and be dependable. He had recently found out that he had an older son, before he met and married Nyla. His name is Jon Nicholson and they were able to meet 2 years ago and converse on the phone regularly. He regretted that he wasn’t given the opportunity to raise Jon, or at the very least to have known of him sooner.
Reg is preceded in death by his father and mother, and step father Jerome Rome.
He is survived by his wife, Nyla; sons, Scott Gray (Patti) of Hutchinson, KS, Michael Gray (Alisha) of Choctaw OK, Jon Nicholson (Jovita) of Waipahu HI and daughter Valarie Gray Hamilton (Alex) of Wichita KS. He is also
Survived by his 8 grandchildren Mika, Madysn, Lauren, Braden, McKenna, Lakin, Nina, and Jazzelle and 2 step grandchildren, Craig and Colin Hamilton.
Service will be held Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 10:30am at the Medora Bible Community Church. Lunch will be served immediately following the service. Burial will be at Neelands Cemetery near St. John, Ks.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Medora Bible Community Church or Serenity Hospice and can be sent in care of Hutchinson Funeral Chapel, 300 E. 30th Ave. Hutchinson, KS. 67502.