Yale '62 - Obituaries - Frank Christian Gray

Frank Christian Gray

Born: March 3, 1939
Died: January 18, 2001

Chris Gray was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and prepared for Yale at Woodbury Forest School and Malvern College in England. Chris was a Political Science major. A resident of Saybrook, he was the college's tennis co-captain, on the soccer team and the Social Committee. He was vice-president of Calliopean, a member of St. Anthony Hall, the Yale Political Union, Dwight Hall Neighborhood House, Freshman Chorus, chairman of the Junior Prom and a manager of several sports teams.

Following graduation, Chris joined the United States Marine Corps and, after obligatory boot camp at Parris Island, served the balance of his six-year commitment with the reserve program. He also attended Wharton School of Finance and the University of North Carolina Law School.

In the late 1960's Chris followed his father's path into the tobacco industry, working in sales for R. J. Reynolds in Yonkers, New York for several years. He also ran his own consumer market research firm. In 1970 he returned home to Winston-Salem and later associated with Merrill Lynch. In the words of his brother Lyons, he was a "Gentleman Financier," managing his own and family affairs, as well as those of his clients.

Chris was a long time member of the board of Forsyth Technical Community College where he helped raise money for scholarships for local students. He was especially proud of his service as a member of the Board of Trustees of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina during the presidency of former Yale Secretary Reuben Holden. Chris was a long time board member of the Winston-Salem YMCA and played a major role in the construction of the Downtown "Y" where a plaque on the building honors his support. He was also active in Rotary and other local charities, including the Piedmont Opera for which he annually hosted the Magnolia Ball on his farm.

Another devoted hobby was his "Choir Practice," a weekly poker game, legendary in Winston-Salem, in which he religiously participated for decades.

After he retired, Chris lived on the family's dairy farm, Brookberry Farm, in rural western Forsyth County, North Carolina. He returned to Winston-Salem in December 1999 for health reasons.

Chris was married and divorced three times. He was survived by the four children of his first marriage, of whom he was immensely proud: Nathalie Gray of Orono, Minnesota; F. Christian Gray, Jr., of Chicago; H. Bradshaw Gray of Richmond, Virginia; and Samuel Gray of Orono but who is in the process of relocating to North Carolina. He was also survived by one grandson and three brothers, Robert of Greenwich, Lyons of Winston-Salem and Randy of Philadelphia.