Larry Grant Gray passed this life on December 8, 2017, quietly at his home in Gray, Laurel County, Kentucky.
He had been born in Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky, September 23, 1944, to the late George Gordon Gray and the late Laura Alva Wilson Gray.
His family moved to Corbin in 1951 where Larry attended Felts Elementary School, then graduated Lily High School in three-and-a-half years.
He joined the United States Army, served from January 1963 to March 1966. He then joined the United State Air Force in October 1967, achieving the rank of Senior Master Sergeant before military retirement. He earned a total of 27 medals, many awards and 54 commendations during his Army/Air Force military career.
He earned his college degree, while serving full time; he also graduated from the NCO Academy, graduated Supervisory Development, and graduated as a Traffic Management Specialist.
He traveled and/or served in most of the continental United States and in several foreign countries, with Germany being his favorite (a total of 14 years). Larry served with pride, honors and distinction during the Vietnam Conflict in southeast Asia, during the Cold War Era in Germany, during the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama, during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, serving in England as transportation coordinator for the last two. The main job he did, and the one he took greatest satisfaction in, was the coordinated effort to insure living military personnel and their dependents, along with their belongings, returned safely to the States. Overseas downsizing, with military base closures, eliminated his job, and he, along with countless others, was retired from active military duty in August 1991. He had spent 27 years and 27 days in service to our country. If he could have had his way, he would have spent another 27 years.
Upon returning to Corbin, he worked at the Times-Tribune until he joined the team at Wal-Mart Distribution Center 6097 in London, Kentucky, retiring from there in May 2008.
He was made a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Paul Patton in 2003 for his devotion, belief and support of American freedoms. He was granted the honor of becoming Corbin Colonel in 2014 by Mayor McBurney.
After military retirement, he taught himself computer skills, becoming very adapt with troubleshooting. He continued his studies to become a certified gunsmith in his spare time, which was little, after he counted "fishin" time. He was a lifelong true blue UK basketball fan. He was a great supporter and active member of a 12-step program, carried a 23-year chip. He was a lifetime member of DAV. He was a great supporter of St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
He took delight in the neatness of his flower beds and yards (everyone knew of his dislike for dandelions and wild onions), he maintained a prize-winning vegetable garden for years, and took great pride in the care and maintenance of his home.
He was an avid reader and he loved word puzzles.
At age 62 he got his first tattoo - not a man to do anything by half measures, the tattoo covered his right arm from his wrist to almost his elbow - also turned out to be his only tattoo.
Larry accomplished a life filled with honor, service, humor, family and friends; and of course, his assortment of dogs, cats, birds and any other living creature he could help save.
His memory is left to be treasured by his beloved wife, Kay; by his children, Craig (Betty) Gray of Kentucky, Dwayne Gray of Virginia, Deena (Doug) Carroway of Florida and Stephanie (Jamie) Nutty of Virginia; his son, Alex Gray, preceded him in death September 2017; by his grandchildren, Sheena, Santana, Brittany, Phillip, Trevor and Surreal; by his counted as grandchildren, Michael, Darrin, Annalise and Brenton; by his great grandchildren, Lane, Logan, Paige, Megan, Ryan, Jennifer, Sara and Kaylie; by his surviving siblings, Don Gray, Christine McHarque, Sue Schlereth and Josephine Gray, all of Kentucky; by his daughter-in-law, Christine Paul of Michigan, by his brothers-in-law, Ronald Bowers (Gloria) of Oklahoma, Donald Bowers (Kathy) of Oklahoma; by his sister-in-law, Cleta Gray of Kentucky; and by numerous nephews and nieces, great nephews and great nieces; along with friends and associates worldwide.
On a gravestone there is a date of birth, a dash, and a date of death. Larry did very well with his dash. He will be loved and missed for all time.
Visitation will be noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Laurel Funeral Home, Corbin. At his request, please dress casually in blue jeans.
Funeral will follow at 2 p.m. Burial will be with fully earned military honors at Pine Hill Cemetery, Corbin.
Instead of floral arrangements, please donate to St. Jude's Children's Cancer Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, or to any animal rescue shelter.
Published on December 11, 2017