John Gray, age 87, of Ruidoso, N.M., died on Aug. 20, 2010. He was born on June 16, 1923, in Pueblo, Colo., to John and Jessie Gray. During World War II, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1941 to 1945. He attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where he was a member of the Phi Gam Fraternity and played football. At that time, John, aka “Zane,” had been drafted by the National Football League to play with either the Cleveland Browns or the Detroit Lions. However, he was unable to realize this dream due to a knee injury. After graduating from Colorado College in 1948 with a degree in business administration and banking, John moved to Pagosa Springs, where he worked in a bank and later set up his own business, “The John Gray Agency.” During his time in Pagosa Springs, John became a member of the Pagosa Springs, Colorado Masonic Lodge and had just recently received honors from the Ruidoso, N.M., Masonic Lodge in recognition for having been a Mason for 50 years. John also belonged to the Colorado Elks Club. John began his career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1963 working for the Jicarilla Apache Tribe in Dulce, N.M. He then worked for the Pueblo of Zuni in Zuni, N.M., where, in 1975, he was granted the title of “Honorary Member of the Pueblo of Zuni” in recognition of good deeds and actions for the Pueblo. This honor also granted to John Gray all of the courtesies and respect which are due to the Zuni people. He then worked for the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Commission in Flagstaff, Ariz., the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Towaoc, Colo., and finally, the Mescalaro Apache Tribe in Mescalaro, N.M., where he retired as superintendent in 1993.
John Gray was a stamp collector, a coin collector and an avid reader of novels by Louis L’Amour, John Grisham and Tony Hillerman. He loved farming, fishing, raising animals, and watching Denver Broncos football games. He was a very good storyteller and had an extensive collection of tastefully dirty jokes. He dearly loved his family and all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. John Gray was preceded in death by his ex-wife, Eva Jean Gray, and his wife, Mary “Kitty” Gray. He is survived by his children Susan Gray, Ned Gray, Jean Gray, Thomasine “Tommie” Eagle, Gloria Eagle, Michelle Eagle Boyer, Sharon Quam and Jean Marie Gurule, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Cremation has taken place. A service to remember John Gray’s life will be held in Cortez, Colo., at the Trinity Lutheran Church on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010, at 2 p.m. with reception to follow.