Charles Edward Gray

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Charles Edward Gray, age 83, of DeFuniak Springs, FL, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday , March 18, 2008. Rev. Gray was born on April 13, 1924, in Birmingham, AL, to Mr. and Mrs. Octavos Gray. At the age of thirteen, he was baptized at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Birmingham. After graduating from Woodlawn High School in 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served in several places within the United States and in Okinawa in the Pacific in 1945. He also served in the Army of Occupation Japan and was qualified as a cryptographic technician. He held the rank of Sergeant when he was honorably discharged on February 9, 1946.

Rev. Gray married Ruth Taylor at the Woodlawn Baptist Church in Birmingham on July 10, 1947, and they had two children, Cathy Ann and Gary Edward. Attending Howard College on the G.I. Bill, Rev. Gray graduated with a B.A. degree in June 1950. He was ordained on March 18, 1951, by the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans, LA. He then attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he graduated with a Mater of Divinity degree in 1954. He was commissioned as a Chaplain (1st Lt.) in March 1954 and began active duty in April of the same year.

Rev. Gray attended Army Chaplain School and the American Institute of Family Relations, receiving credits from Pepperdine University. He also attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, KS, and the University of Chicago Divinity School in History of Religions. Rev. Gray served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army in Germany, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as the United States. In addition to his calling as a chaplain, he served as an instructor to the Civil Affairs School in Ft. Gordon, GA. Then in 1967, he served a tour of duty in Vietnam where he was assigned to the Fourth Infantry Division in the Central Highlands. He returned to the states in August 1968, and he received special training at the Brooks Medical Center in Texas. He retired from service on March 1, 1971. On March 2, 1971, Rev. Gray became the Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lawton, OK. He served for four and one-half years before returning to Florida in October 1975. In Florida, he served several pastorates and then retired again. He taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church in DeFuniak Springs for twenty years, where he also served as a member for twenty four years. Rev. Gray is preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Cathy Gray Lion. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, of DeFuniak Springs; his son, Gary Gray of Freeport, FL; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church of DeFuniak Springs at 2:00 PM, on Thursday, March 20, 2008, with Rev. Jerry Chumley officiating. In lieu of flowers remembrances may be made to the First Christian Academy at 216 East Live Oak Avenue DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435. Those asked to serve as honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Mens Adult Four Sunday School Class.


[Burial: Magnolia Cemetery, DeFuniak Springs]