Gene E. Gray

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MTT News's picture

MIDDLETON–Devoted husband, father, bumpa and papa, Gene E. Gray succumbed to cancer with his wife by his side at Agrace HospiceCare on Jan. 23, 2020. Gene was born on March 14, 1939, in Sparta, WI. to Ioen and George Gray. Prior to moving to Madison, he lived his earliest years in various communities due to his father’s work with the Milwaukee Road Railroad. During his school years, Gene developed close friendships that were fostered and lasted his entire lifetime. A 1957 graduate of the former Central High School, Gene briefly served in the US Army National Guard before studying education/PE and history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the summers, he followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, working for Milwaukee Road as part of the line crew. Gene graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1962. 

Gene met his bride, Marge Johnson, while working with St. John’s Lutheran Church youth group; the two were married on Aug. 11, 1962. They moved to Harvard, IL, where Gene taught Junior High PE and coached both JV basketball and track. Their daughter, Karen, was born in 1964, and in 1966 Gene completed his master’s degree in School Administration from the University of Northern Illinois. 

After moving to Middleton in 1967, their son John was born. Gene was hired by the Middleton Cross Plains-Area School District, teaching PE and Health at Kromrey Junior High, as well as coaching boys’ basketball and track. Gene became a Junior High Assistant Principal and then an Elementary School Principal. He spent 18 years as the Sauk Trail Elementary School Principal before ending his career at Sunset Ridge Elementary School. Gene was revered by teachers, parents and students. Working with children, particularly the “underdog” was his life’s calling.

Gene was extremely active in the community; he served on the Middleton Library Board, as Middleton Recreational Director, chaired multiple committees at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Morey Field Airport Commission, and Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission. Gene served in several capacities for Middleton Outreach Ministry. Following retirement, he worked for Viterbo University, mentoring teachers who were completing course work to become principals. Albeit, Gene was passionate for the St. Louis Cardinals and UW Basketball, his true devotion was to his family, friends, community of educators and students as well as the community at St. Luke’s Church.

Gene is survived by his wife, Marge Gray; daughter, Karen Gray (fiancée John Wood); granddaughter, Allyson Keller; grandson, Nicholas Keller; son, John Gray; daughter-in-law, Jodi Gray (Flocker); grandson Bryce Gray; and a multitude of close friends. 

A funeral service will be held at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 7337 Hubbard Ave., Middleton, at 12 noon on Feb. 1, 2020. Visitation will be held at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Middleton Outreach Ministry, the UW Carbone Cancer Center, or St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

Our family would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to those who compassionately cared for Gene along this journey: UW Carbone Center; UW Hospital and Clinics; Agrace HospiceCare; and close friends. Online condolences may be made at gundersonfh.com.

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