Robert William Gray

by Lynn McMillen
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Heaven gained one of its soon to be most unique residents on December 2, 2023. Robert William Gray, Sr., aka “Bob” to his friends or “Big Bob” to his family, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.

Bob was born on March 12, 1934, in Lincoln County, TN, to the late James Davis Gray and Hattie Emma Wade Gray. He was a 1952 graduate of Central High School. Bob attended Middle Tennessee State College (MTSC) and was in the ROTC program. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from MTSC in 1956. After graduation he was commissioned as an officer into the US Army. Mr. Gray worked with Brown Engineering at Marshall Space Flight Center to help man reach the moon. Bob later returned to school earning his Master’s degree in Education Administration, leading him to start his teaching career with Fayetteville City Schools. Bob would become the Principal at Highland Rim School, Principal at Eighth District School, and superintendent of Lincoln County School District.

Bob met the love of his life, Margie Harrison Gray, at an ROTC dance at MTSC. Together they enjoyed 67 years of marriage. To their union they had two sons, Bob (Cathy) Gray, Jr. of Fayetteville, and Walter (Lori) Gray of Murfreesboro. Additional survivors include his brother, Davis “Skeebo” Gray, Jr. of Germantown, TN; grandchildren, Jennifer (David) Flanigan, Rob (Rachel) Gray, III, Holley (Adam) Wright, Mary Gray, Brian (Haley) Gray, and Kelly (Nate) Conley; great-grandchildren, Ellie Flanigan, Emmie Flanigan, Will Gray, Samuel Wright, and Nolan Gray; and numerous extended family members and beloved friends.

Instead of boring you with the countless accolades Big Bob received throughout his life (which he was not fond of discussing), we thought it best to pass along the following words of wisdom.

Big Bob’s 10 Commandments:

  1. Be a friend to everyone (even Alabama fans of which his brother, Skeebo, is one).
  2. Do not EVER let the wine go bad.
  3. Kill them with kindness, with the only exception being groundhogs that have taken up residence under your house.
  4. It is always best to do as Margie says, but if you do not, she better not find out.
  5. Big Bob’s Golfisms:
    • No matter how many strokes you make on a hole, it is still possible to make par if you are the one keeping score.
    • You will have a lot more Hole in Ones after you outlive your foursome, which Big Bob did.
    • If you have the opportunity to play golf with your granddaughter, try to keep your tobacco in your mouth.
  6. Don’t waste good ghost stories on adults. Tell them to your young, impressionable grandchildren, so they go home to their parents and do not sleep for weeks.
  7. Your children are important until your grandchildren arrive, but when your 5 great grandchildren show up no one else matters.
  8. 67 years with the love of your life is never enough, but apparently it’s not long enough to properly sweep the leaves out of the carport.
  9. Make sure that your grandchildren’s weddings are epic celebrations. You are never too old to be the life of the party, dance moves included.
  10. On your last day, be able to say “I have had the best life ride of anyone. Only happy tears for me.”

A funeral service will be held at 1 PM on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville with Bro. Harold Dawkins and Rev. Bruce McVey officiating. Burial will follow in the Rose Hill Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 11 AM until the time of service on Tuesday at the church.

Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville Missions Fund, P. O. Box 472, Fayetteville, TN 37334.

Higgins Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Bob Gray.

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