Coral Springs, FL, and Sedgwick
- Bernard Lyman Gray, age 71, of Coral Springs, Florida, and previously of Sedgwick, Maine, left our world Monday, May 29, 2017. His unexpected passing has left his family and friends heartbroken.
Bernie was born July 25, 1945, in Harve de Grace, Maryland, as the second son to Lyman Franklin Gray and Celia Myrtle McCafferty Gray. He moved with his family to Bangor, Maine, in 1946 when his dad was discharged from the army.
His love of cars began when at age four he popped the clutch of his grandfather's Nash Rambler which was pointed down East Summer St. in Bangor toward the Penobscot River. Fortunately for him a neighbor's concrete steps interrupted the trip but the excitement was never forgotten.
His lifelong love of reading, poetry, and pretty much all literature began when his family moved to his great grandfather's farm in West Sedgwick when he was five. His mother loved reading and poetry and instilled that passion in all her children. He moved on to the Illustrated Classics as his reading developed and still owned many of those to this day.
His tastes for management and for retail business started early with him being President of his class at GSA his sophomore and senior years and with a job at the First National Stores in Blue Hill while he was in high school. He graduated from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill in 1964 and had recently reconnected with many of his high school friends at reunions on both sides of his 50th in 2014. In fact he was recently working with classmate Jim Farr to line up reunion activities for 2017. Two of the teachers who had the greatest influence on him were his 7th and 8th grade teacher, Mary Lymburner at the Sedgwick schools and Colby Merchant at GSA.
From GSA he went to Colby College to pursue studies in foreign language and literature. Those pursuits served him well as he became a voracious reader and lover of poetry and literature. Anyone who knew him would say his command of the English language was impressive, never needing to pause for just the right word or the right reference, always ready to quote an appropriate stanza of poetry or make a precisely suitable reference to a great writer. Edgar Allan Poe was one of his favorites. As he grew older he approached life with a very contemplative analysis, always referencing books to what was happening in his life and in his world.
After college he went into a management training program with JJ Newberry (Britts Department Stores). That program started in Ellsworth, Maine, but soon sent him to their stores in Quebec (where he could practice his French and loved every minute of it), New Jersey, West Virginia, Ohio, and finally Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was in Fort Lauderdale that he met his wife, Judy Matthews, and decided to settle down there.
In 1981 Bernie left Britts and spent the next nine years as a stock broker with EF Hutton. He decided to return to retail and went to work in management for Crown Wine and Spirits. In 1995 Bernie won the Spanish Wine Importers National competition and was awarded a two-week custom wine tour in Spain. In 2008 Bernie and Judy started High Mark Management LLC, a Florida community association management company. Bernie has spent the last eight years managing homeowner associations.
Bernie never cared to participate in athletics except for an occasional round of golf. His Dad tried hard to get him into hunting but Bernie resisted although he did develop a love of nature and a respect for wildlife. His Mom and Dad also got him into Archery with their Welikeit Archery Club in the late 1950's and early 1960's. As a young man he did love chess. In 2004 Bernie walked his first half-marathon with Judy for her 50th birthday. Over the years Bernie participated in six half-marathons while Judy was running marathons. Recently Bernie started taking Yoga and Tai Chi classes and was taking a motorcycle safety course to get his license.
Once Bernie started on his independent path after college, he rarely had time to get back to his beloved Maine. In the past few years he made up for that and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the places of his youth and the friends he had made there. He revived a special bond with his sister, Linda, and they spent hours talking or writing emails to each other. He was inspired the past few years to help Wreaths Across America by placing wreaths on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery with his good friend Ron Sailor.
Bernie was predeceased by both his parents, Lyman and Celia Gray (in 1981 and 2014, respectively), his older brother Calvin (in 2002) and his nephew Eric (in 1989).
He is survived by: his sister Linda and her husband Dewey Martin of Hampden, Maine; his uncle Bernard Alfred McCafferty of Machias, Maine; his three nephews: Sterling and his wife Wendy Gray of Austin, Texas, Tyler and his wife Andrea Martin of Bangor, Maine and Daniel Martin of Venice, California; his niece Laura and her husband Justin of Brighton, Massachusetts; his four grand-nephews: Austin and Connor Gray of Austin, Texas, and Samuel and Beckett Martin of Bangor, Maine, and by his best friend and love of his life for the last 38 years Judy Matthews-Gray of Coral Springs, Florida. His adorable dog Cammi watches at the window for him to come home again.
Such an early death is not fair - he had so much more to contribute to our world. Please take time to remember him in your own way. For those wishing to honor Bernie, he would have appreciated a donation in his memory to George Stevens Academy, 23 Union St., Blue Hill, ME 04614.
Services for Bernie will be held graveside on Saturday June 17, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Rest Cemetery in North Brooksville, Maine.
You may reach Linda Gray Martin at 575 Meadow Rd., Hampden, Maine 04444-3217; and Judy Matthews-Gray at 102 SW 96th Lane, Coral Springs, Florida 33071-7358.
Published on  June 7, 2017