John Gray died in November in the VGH Leukemia unit after a very short illness. It was particularly difficult to accept as only a few days before his passing he was active both mentally and physically, enjoying life. He is survived by his wife Doris Kavanagh-Gray, his three children, Cynthia Nicholas of Aurora, Ontario, Jay Gray of Whistler, Andrea Gray of Vancouver, and six grandchildren.
John was born in Vancouver, the son of a practising Vancouver physician. He was a football star both at Vancouver College, where he received his early education, and at UBC, where he received his BA. His favorite summer break job was working on the Union steamships plying their way up and down the west coast. He went to University of Ottawa, where he not only received his medical degree but met the love of his life, his wife for 54 years, Doris Kavanagh. Following specialty training in general surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, he returned to Vancouver to practise at St. Paul’s Hospital, where his father had practised before him. He was a past president of the Vancouver Medical Association and was honored by the Vancouver medical community by being named Prince of Good Fellows. In his last 10 years of practice he entered administration, being appointed vice president of medicine at St. Paul’s.
John had varied interests: downhill and cross-country skiing, fly fishing, ballroom dancing, and in his earlier years, boating. On retirement he and Doris traveled extensively, cruising about the globe, visiting many countries, and cycling around Europe, often taking grandchildren with them. On their organized bike tours they took great pride in never having to resort to being picked up by the trailing minivan as many of the much younger bikers did. John loved music of almost every genre, be it jazz, big band, or classical. He took delight in rousing his overnight guests at his favorite retreat at Whistler with the sounds of the massed drums and brass of the Grenadier Guards and Royal Marines Band piped through the chalet.
He read extensively and was always ready with an apropos quote from some major thinker or wit.
His interest and strong opinions on political matters—local, provincial, federal, or international—invariably led to entertaining and lively discussions with his friends.
John loved his life, his home, and his family, and he often said that he hoped he passed before his wife as he could not imagine life without Doris at his side. His wife, his family, and his friends now have to face life without him. It is not easy, but the satisfaction of having had him as part of our lives brings some consolation.
—Terry Rutherford, MD
—Bill Ibbott, MDCM
—Stan Stordy, MDCM
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