John Luther Gray

January 9, 1942 ~ December 25, 2021 (age 79)


John Luther Gray – a friend to all he met - passed away December 25, 2021 at his home in Pendleton, OR, surrounded by his loving wife, children and grandchildren. He was 79.

 Born January 9, 1942 in Rayville, LA to John Dee and Wardell (McFarland) Gray, John was an avid fisherman, proud Army vet, dedicated church deacon and enthusiastic Seattle Seahawks fan. He was happiest when spending time with his family, especially his wonderful grandchildren. All who knew him, knew that “Papa” was his most treasured title.

 After graduating from Granger High School in 1961, John enlisted in the US Army where he served in multiple locations, his favorite being his time stationed in Germany. Upon his return, his father conspired with a fishing buddy to introduce John to Carol Rose Lee. The plan worked and John and Carol sealed the deal on July 11, 1965 and shared 56 loving married years together.

Always a hard worker, John worked for Harris Pine Mills for many years in both the Pendleton, OR and Spangle, WA locations. While working there, John studied for, and received, his journeyman electrician license. After the mill closed John worked for the Army Corps of Engineers at McNary Dam. He finished out his career with the Pendleton School District as their resident electrician and jack-of-all-trades.

In the summers, or any time the weather permitted, John could be found working in his garden. Many family meals were spent fighting over portions of his famous corn, delicious green beans and many other garden delights. John was also known for his deep faith. A favorite family story is of his miracle dream that revealed the location of his grandson’s missing hearing aids. His granddaughter remembers that John was the kind of man you could sit quietly with and still feel connected. John had a huge and loving heart and made all of the grandkids in his blended family feel accepted and valued. “He would always turn your frown upside down, whether he made you laugh or just feel good inside.”

 John is survived by his wife, Carol (Lee) Gray; son, Tony Gray; daughter, Diana Burns (David); and daughter, Kristi Sewell (Rob). Six grandchildren; Darin Headley, Rylan Headley, Janessa Headley, Logan Sewell, Shelby Sewell, Josie Conley and one great granddaughter. John is preceded in death by his parents, John and Wardell Gray, and his sister, Shirley Krahn.

A public memorial service will be announced at a future date. To express condolences, please visit

John Luther Gray, 79, of Pendleton died Saturday, December 25, 2021 at his home.  John was born on January 9, 1942 in Rayville, Louisiana.

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