The first real estate agent in Pagosa Springs, John Gray IV, died Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, in Ruidoso, N.M. He was 87.
Mr. Gray was born to Jessie Marion and John Gray III on June 16, 1923, in Pueblo.
He graduated from Centennial High School at 16.
During World War II, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1941 to 1945. Mr. Gray was a navigator who flew missions in Europe on aircraft that dropped “tinsel” to scramble radar.
Known as “Zane,” he attended Colorado College, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and played football.
At a social function in college, he met Eva Jean Olson. The couple married in 1946 in Pagosa Springs. The marriage later ended in divorce.
After graduating in 1948 with a degree in business administration, Mr. Gray was drafted by the Detroit Lions. He decided to work for Woolworth’s Five and Dime in North Dakota because it paid better.
The Grays moved to Pagosa Springs, where he worked at Hersch’s Citizens Bank and later set up Pagosa Springs’ first real estate business, The John Gray Agency.
Mr. Gray served on the Pagosa Town Board. He served as president of the Rodeo Association when it built the Pagosa rodeo grounds. As a lifelong aviator, he was a member of the Pagosa Springs Flying Club, which built the town’s airport.
Mr. Gray was also a member of Club 20 and the group that formed the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce.
He joined the Pagosa Springs Masonic Lodge, eventually becoming a 32nd degree Mason. He was recently recognized for having been a mason for 50 years.
Mr. Gray was a member and former officer of the Pagosa Springs Lions Club. He was also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 507 and Shriners in Durango.
Mr. Gray began his career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1963 as one of seven chief project development officers in the U.S. His first position was with the Jicarilla Apache Tribe in Dulce, N.M. He next worked for the Pueblo of Zuni, N.M., where, in 1975, he was granted the title of honorary member.
In 1966, he married Mary “Kitty” Eagle in Tierra Amarilla, N.M.
Mr. Gray served as head federal officer for the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Commission in Flagstaff, Ariz., during the mid-1970s. He also worked with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Towaoc and the Mescalero Apache Tribe in Mescalero, N.M., where he retired as superintendent in 1993.
“He was a very good storyteller and had an extensive collection of tastefully dirty jokes,” his family wrote.
Mr. Gray was preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Mary “Kitty” Gray; and his former wife, Eva Jean Gray.
He is survived by his children Suzan Gray of Pagosa Springs, John “Ned” Gray of Tucson, Ariz., Jean Gray Huerta of Litchfield Park, Ariz., Thomasine “Tommie” Eagle of Española, N.M., Gloria Eagle of Parker, Ariz., and Michelle Eagle Boyer of Cortez; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010, at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 208 N. Dolores Road in Cortez.