William (Bill) Brian Gray was born on December 30, 1947 at Middletown Hospital. He left this earth, suddenly and unexpectedly, on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at the young age of 72.
All that knew Bill loved him. He was raised in Lebanon, Ohio and spent most of his life in Lebanon. In 2016, he moved to Spring Hill, Florida to live out his dream of fun in the sun with his favorite girl...his wife. He loved sports (especially the Cleveland Browns, Ohio State and the Cincinnati Reds), beer, Beer Steins, old R & B music (and most types of music), mysteries, westerns, traveling, gambling, beaches, Sherlock Holmes and life in general. His biggest joy and loves were his wife, Marilyn Lucille Gray (nee: Cunningham) to whom he was married for 49 blissful years. Bill often joked that he met her when he was just a child of 6 or 7 and was swinging with her when the swing flew back and hit him in the head. They said he always remembered the pretty little girl that made him see stars but didn’t meet her again until they were in high school even though they grew up in the same little town! Upon meeting her again in high school, he fell head over heels for her and they immediately started dating. After high school, Bill attended Mahoning Technical College in Youngstown OH while Marilyn moved to Cincinnati OH and became the Flori Roberts spokeswomen for Shillito’s. They dated other people for those 2 years, but realized they were soulmates and resumed their relationship upon Bill’s return to Lebanon. On April 3, 1971, they were married and their only child, Lesley Marcella May (nee: Gray) was born October 6, 1971. While they both adored children, God only blessed them with one child.
Bill was a devoted, kind and loving father. Lesley was the apple of his eye and truly Daddy’s girl. He was there for her during the good and bad times. He was always there to give great advice, comfort her, guide her and love her. She couldn’t have asked for a more perfect father! When she married Andrew (Andy) David May from England in 2003. He immediately accepted him as part of the Gray clan and their friendship and love grew daily. Bill was the Dad that Andy never had and one of his very best friends. They shared a love of sports, beer, traveling and their 2 favorite gals. On August 28, 2009 the best gift the Gray’s and May’s could ever hope for finally arrived. Cooper William Alexander May was born and Bill was ecstatic. Cooper was his pride and joy! They were best buddies and Bill could have spent every moment of every day with Cooper if possible. Their bond was undeniable and unbreakable. It was remarkable to see the loved shared between Bill and his grandson.
The void that the family feels since Bill’s departure is one that can and will never be filled. He was more than just a great husband, wonderful Dad and Father-in-Law and doting Grandfather. He was our best friend, our rock, our anchor...our everything. The world was extraordinary with Bill in it and now it is just an Ordinary World.
Bill also leaves behind several siblings that he loved dearly. Carole W. Tharps (Tom), Charles (Bud) E. Gray, Jr. (Shirley), H. Edwina Scott, C. Diane Million (Theodore) and Bruce A. Gray. He was proceeded in death by his father, Charles Gray, Sr., in 1999 and mother, Evelyn Gray, in 2000 as well as his beautiful sister, Karen Gray in 2014. He also leaves a step-granddaughter, Brid Baker (nee: May) and step great grandson, Wyatt Baker. As well as a host of very special nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews and in-laws that he loved just as if they were his blood siblings. And last but not least, his grand puppy, Lexie the Airedale Terrier.
Bill would want to be remembered for his kindness, his integrity, his love of his family, his respect of his elders, his work ethic, his compassion and his sense of humor. He will live on in our hearts forever. He was truly one-of-a-kind and the type of man you don’t find everyday. He had a real joy for life and believed in helping others. In lieu of flowers, he would have wanted contributions to the GoFundMe account set up for his wife, Marilyn, as she was his everything and will now struggle spiritually, mentally, physically and financially due to the loss of her beloved Bill