David Henry "Red" Gray

David Henry “Red” Gray, a recognized authority on the history of  Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and Rhea County, died Tuesday in an Oak
Ridge, Tenn., hospital.  He was 72. A native and longtime resident of Hamilton County, Mr. Gray had lived in Coulterville, Sale Creek and Graysville, Tenn.

He attended school at Bakewell and went to the old Soddy High School, graduating in 1933 as class valedictorian.  Mr. Gray then attended Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., and studied business at McKenzie College in Chattanooga.

In 1942 he enlisted in the U. S. Army, beginning his service with the rank of warrant officer.  His military career included service with the 5th Army in Casablanca, Algiers, Naples and parts of Austria.  Shortly after the war ended, he was given considerable authority regarding the operations of Steyr-Daimler-Puch Werke, an automobile factory in Steyr, Austria, and traveled widely through Europe.

Upon his return home in 1947, he resumed an association with Security Mills in Knoxville, accepting the post of auditor there in 1951.  His work took him through East Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In 1957 he became manager of the Park Oil Co. in Maryville, Tenn., where he remained until his retirement in 1960.  After retiring, he farmed and began an intensive study of the people and history of Hamilton and Rhea counties.  He was very active in the collection and preservation of early records.

The Chattanooga Museum of Regional History in 1979 received a gift from Mr. Gray of some 5,000 items comprising a collection of early farm equipment, household furnishings, auto parts, bottles, military items and Chattanooga industrial products.  Most of these items were from this area and were collected by Mr. Gray over a 40-year period.  Recently, he donated a similar collection to the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) Children’s Museum. He had donated 460 acres of property in Coulterville to the Audubon Society.  The property was named the David Gray Sanctuary, now Audubon Mountain.

In 1982, he helped to found the Gray Cemetery Co., recently revitalized for the purpose of maintaining certain cemeteries in Hamilton County. A philanthropist, he had given direct financial assistance to numerous students over the years for studies at the high school and college levels.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer Woodard and Pauline McDonald Wallace Gray, and a brother, Elmer W. Gray.

Survivors include two brothers, John M. Gray, Bradenton, Fla., and Lewis E. Gray of Red Bank; two sisters, Jane G. Ketcham, Hadley, Mass., and Ruth G. Carden of Princeton, N.J.; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Williamson and Sons Funeral Home, Soddy-Daisy, with the Rev. Bill Wallace officiating.Burial will be in Gray Cemetery in Bakewell, Tenn., with Frank Gray, Steve Leach, Martin Gross, James Ewton, Tom Morgan and Tom Townsend serving as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends today after 5 p.m. at the funeral home.
Chattanooga Times – Free Press, Wednesday, November 9, 1988.

Submitted by: T. R. “Tom” Williams, Jr.