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James A. Gray…Jim Gray, a.k.a. “Jo-Z” and “Deadeye”, born November 10, 1948 was a son, brother, nephew, cousin, father, grandfather and friend. Jim passed away on April 8, 2019 at his home in Warsaw, OH surrounded by family. Each of us who are lucky enough to have shared a bond with him know what an amazing person he was.
After attending Ashland College on a Wrestling scholarship, he transferred to Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in Agronomy. Naturally quiet by nature, his values could not be silenced when he stopped the burning of the American flag flying at an OSU administration building. After graduation he returned home to Stow, Ohio
Jim served as the City of Stow’s first arborist, developing a tree management program for the City. During his 30 years of service with the City of Stow, the City Hall complex was constructed. He created the landscape design, procured planning materials with the help of a grant he obtained for the project and oversaw the planting of the complex, as well as designing the SKIP playground landscaping.
Throughout his life, Jim was an avid outdoorsman. He hunted everything from squirrels, rabbit, pheasants, and deer, to elk and even a Canadian black bear. Jim enjoyed fishing -- on Lake Erie, the Ocean and in Quebec to name a few of his favorite locations. His love of the outdoors drove him to complete Tom Brown’s Wilderness Survival School in New Jersey.
He enjoyed wood working and was very gifted at it, creating many beautiful gifts for his family and friends. Jim set high standards in everything he pursued, as evidenced by his 1st Place finish, two consecutive years (1999-2000), in the Indoor Male Senior Division State Tournament sponsored by the Ohio Archers Association. Jim also obtained his Master Gardener certification after retiring.
His love of the outdoors was second only to his love for and devotion to his family. Vacations to New England, Disneyland, Canada, the Beach, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons—to name a few; trips to the Ohio State Fair and Virginia Kendall and just any time he spent with his daughters, Tammy & Tiffany, was cherished. His six grandchildren brought additional joy to his life and he was so proud of each one of them.
Shortly before retiring, Jim bought a farm in Warsaw, Ohio, to spend his retirement years. He always referred to it as “our place”, not my place…a place for family and friends to be together. For the past 13 years the Gray Homestead (Barn Swallow Hollow) in Warsaw underwent many projects under Jim’s hands to create the retreat he loved to share with everyone. Memories were created all year long: hunting, camping, fishing and swimming in pond, birdwatching, feeding the catfish, relaxing on the front porch swing, playing cards, picking blueberries, resting on a hammock, throwing tomahawks, hiking the trails, Kubota rides, BBQ’s and roasting marshmallows at the fire pit—just spending time together.
Jim was always there to help, listen and support his family and friends. He gave everyone special memories that we will treasure for the rest of our years. He will be deeply missed but always with us.
Thank you so much!
Proceeded in death by his parents, Gerald and Dorothy Gray, Jim is survived by daughters, Tammy Gray-Miller and Tiffany Gray-Humbert; grandchildren, Alexandra, Taylor, Sydney, Autumn, Zander and A.J. ; sisters Patty Gray, Diane (Greg) Werner, Joan (Chuck) Sapsford; nephew and nieces, Kevin Werner, Katie & Megan Sapsford; aunts, uncle, many cousins and cherished friends.
Per his request, no services are being held at this time. A celebration of life is being planned for a future date.
In Jim’s honor, please plant a tree, recycle more and have a beer.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local gardening club or if able volunteer on Earth Day or Arbor Day.