John Gray, 92 of Olathe, KS passed away on Friday, November 3 with his loving wife by his side.
John began his life among the eldest of 7 children to Lawrence and Mabel Gray. Growing up in a small town in Iowa, he had many stories to share with family of his escapades in his youth. A generation of the Great Depression he learned hard work at an early age. John’s work ethic was commendable. He was admired and respected by anyone who worked with him or for him for his honestly and dependability always a man of his word who put his crew first. In his later years he looked for work to stay busy and productive right up to the day his illness prevented it.
John met the love of his life Shirley in Iowa. He was instantly smitten and said to family and friends, “I’m going to marry that English girl one day” and he did. That marriage would last 69 years , just shy of their 70th anniversary.
John began his lifelong career as a homebuilder at the young age of 21. He grew an impressive reputation and was commissioned to build custom homes in a multi-state area culminating in an award winning home featured in the Kansas City Star and later published in a book. A proud member of the Home Builders Association he would weather the housing market storms while managing to support his family of 7, not always an easy task. It was always memorable to take a ride with him while he pointed out all the homes he built throughout the KC Metro/Plaza/Johnson County area. His biggest pride and joy though was the home he built for his family nearly 60 years ago. A home he would raise his family in and remained until the time of his passing. “The House that John Built” is a house filled with 60 years worth of memories. The rooms echo the love and laughter and memories made.
John was active with his kids, teaching them each how to ride bikes, water ski during their years at the lake along with passing on his love of fishing. He was a great outdoorsman and looked forward to his yearly hunting expeditions in the Colorado Rockies or western Kansas. He also loved his involvement in the Boy Scouts with his eldest son.
Melody writes: He was one of the best. Always just a phone call away, fixing clothes bars in the closet for the kids to rescuing them from a snake in the basement or adding window seats to the dormers as their house was being built. So many memories to share. He was a gifted woodworker and built Christie a desk and Heath a toybox.
He was invited along with his wife Shirley to become members of the Silver Dollar City Craft Guilt where they would enjoy decades of involvement with the special shows and events. Once leaving that membership they both worked side by side with their retail business Country Cottage of 28 years where they would make so many lifelong friendships.
John is survived by his beloved wife Shirley Gray of the home, 4 children, Melody (David) Mallicoat Bucyrus, Ks, Christine Albers, Olathe, Ks, Kenny and Ginny Gray, Overland Park, Ks and John Gray and Heather, Leawood, Ks. 10 Grandchildren, Heath (Jessie) Mallicoat, Christie (Doug) Emperley, Lisa and Brian Gray, Mark (Elisa) Paonessa, Michael Albers, Kerry (Jeremy) Swing, Patrick (Kari) Lauver, Sam Gray, and Kate Mannell, and 14 Great Grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his son David Gray, Grandson David Gray, Jr and son in law Dennis Albers.
No services are planned at John’s request.
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