Joseph Gray
Joseph Gray
Joseph Gray
Joseph Gray

Obituary of Joseph Alfred Gray

Joe passed away suddenly on August 13th, 2020 in Strathmore, Alberta at the age of 88.  Joe was born in Matapedia, Quebec to Josephine Doiran and Frederick Gray.  He is survived by Janice, his wife and soul-mate of 37 years; his children Blaine (Sue), Darlene, Dean (Lisa),and stepchildren Lynn (Steve), and Nora (Kendal); 12 grandchildren, Niki (Shawn), Dylan, Wynter (Jarod), Danielle (Simon), Robyn, Shawna, Chase (Alex), Shayna, Alisa, Kallum, Alasdair, and Scott and 7 great grandchildren Payton, Hailee, Kingston, Kane, Asher, Sophie, Theo, and  another great grandchild on the way;  his first wife, Norene; and 9 siblings,  Rita, Mary, Ylonde, Annette, Therese,  Gerald (Alberte), Roger (Claudette), Claude, and Walter, and multiple nieces and nephews.  Joe was predeceased by his parents and brothers Romeo, Leo, Alonzo, Eddy, Andrew, and Lorne and sisters, Bertha and Lucy.

Also surviving Joe are his brothers-in-law,  Bill (Margie) Delaney, Bernie (Karen) Delaney; sisters-in-law, Mary Lloyd, Laurie Delaney, Lorraine Delaney  and Eileen Delaney, Nephews and Nieces, David, Darlene (Justin), Debra (Charles), Natasha (Chris), Nicole (John), Jimmy (Cheryl), Felicia, and Jason (Melanie). He was predeceased by his Mother-In-Law "Girlie" Martha Delaney, and brothers-in-law Ronnie Delaney,  Barry Delaney, and John Lloyd.

If you look up “self-made man” in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of Joseph Gray.  After a humble start as one of 18 kids in rural Quebec, he struck out on his own with little more than a few dollars in his pocket.  Never one to shy-away from adventure, he was the ultimate entrepreneur, traveler, inventor, investor, businessman, artist and renovator. 

Always humble, Joe deemed himself a “jack of all trades, master of none”.  His craftsmanship and craft though self-taught, was exceptional; he was up for a challenge, and he never left a job unfinished.  Joe could see the potential, where others saw only obstacles or hurdles.  Undeterred by logistics like a lack of power or water, he built a beautiful summer home on the water on both the East and West Coasts, where you would find him and  Janice convened around a fire, live music, and feasts with family, friends, and neighbours (who without fail, also became lifelong friends.)  Ever the consummate host, he loved to entertain and rivaled professionally- trained chefs with his mouth-watering bouillabaisse, crepes, chicken frico, chicken a’ la Gray, tourtiere, among his many delicious creations.  He showed his love and appreciation for you through food; happily nourishing a crowd with his talents.  The grandkids will never forget whenever it was a “crepes at Boompa’s house” day, as he would cook dozens and dozens, and the fruit and whip cream would fly!! (the smart adults brought raincoats!)

Joe was a great storyteller, but everyone learned quickly not to give him the power of a microphone! And of course, a lot of those stories were about fishing. Joe loved to fish, and could spend hours enjoying the day on a boat with a line in. (Remember when the whale came to have a look at him, and he accidentally turned the video camera OFF instead of ON?!). Laughter and joy always filled the house.  Between Joe and Janice, Christmas was truly magical!  Every square inch of tabletop, desktop, mantle, countertop, wall space, stovetop, and fridge space were always filled to the brim with Christmas joy.  They were consummate hosts to family and friends alike.

There was real magic in Joe’s hands.  From his cooking to his artistry to his construction and renovation skills. He would proudly tell you that he indeed had recently run out of wall-space to hang all his own works-of-art! And, of course, like any good French-man, he’d talk with his hands, play a mean game of Crib or  Auction, and was always keen to take Janice for a spin around the dance floor, given the opportunity. 

Joe was Dad to 5, and “Boompa” to 12 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  He didn’t just tell his kids and grandkids to live in the moment, to have fun, not to take themselves too seriously, to work hard, to surround themselves with people to love, but he showed them.    Never one to feel sorry for himself, he beat the odds health-wise, battling heart disease and cancer over the years with an indomitable strength and spirit. And when he said he’d live to be 102, we of course all believed him.  His youthful spirit belied his age or health or prognosis.  

Joe  was always well cared for by his medical team, led by his primary physician Dr. Alan Young at Chrystal Ridge Medical Clinic, Dr. Patrick Ma, Cardiologist,  Dr. Latigan, Oncologist, Dr. Sarah Perry, oncologist, Dr. Peter Colbert and Belinda, oncology nurse, at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.  

We are so grateful and blessed to have had him in our lives for the short time we did.

"You placed gold on my finger, you brought love, like I've never known

You gave your life to our children, and to me a reason to go on"

"You're my bread, when I'm hungry, You're my shelter from troubled winds

You're my Anchor in Life's Ocean

But most of all, you're My Best Friend "

                                (Don Williams) 


As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Please share your photos, memories, and condolences with us.


For those wishying to send sympathy cards, please send to:

Mrs. Janice Gray
Site 15, Box 3, RR#1
Strathmore, AB  T1P 1J6

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