Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
John Paul Gray

John Paul Gray

April 5, 1965 - October 3, 2017     Age: 52

John Paul Gray, 52, of Fernandina Beach went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 while on a business trip in Atlanta.
Born on April 5, 1965, he was the son of Barbara Dickerson Gray and the late Thomas Marshall Gray. John was raised in Charleston, West Virginia where he developed a love for baseball and the great outdoors. John graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 1983 and graduated from West Virginia Tech with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1987. After college, John joined the United States Navy and became a commissioned officer on the USS West Virginia out of Kings Bay, GA. After the Navy, John was employed by Georgia-Pacific in Brunswick and settled on St. Simons Island. John discovered a love for the coast, met his wife, Robi and started a family. He began his employment at Rayonier Advanced Materials on July 16, 2008 and transitioned his family to Fernandina Beach in 2014. John was the Manager of Engineering and Maintenance. He helped to build boiler programs and improve reliability for Rayonier.  He was also President of the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) and helped to develop industry standards for pulp and paper mill boilers nationally.

It was on Amelia Island that John and his family would spend their happiest days together. John began collecting shark’s teeth during their trips to the beach. He enjoyed working in the family garden and continued his lifelong passion for baseball.

John passed this love on to his sons who all played baseball as well as other sports at various levels. John always told his sons, “be a good man first and a good baseball player second.”

John leaves behind his wife of nearly 20 years, Robi Britton Gray, sons J.T., Dave, Rob, Sam, Tom and his step-daughter, Harvest; his mother, Barbara Gray of Charleston, WV, his sister, Tonya Propst of Myrtle Beach, SC and his niece and nephew also of Myrtle Beach.

Services will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with The Reverend Stephen Mazingo, Rector.

In lieu of flowers, a scholarship memorial for John’s five sons has been established at youcaring.com/robigray-970631

22 Condolences

  • John Powell Posted October 5, 2017 1:50 pm

    Your entire family has our condolences. John was a great man and an even better Father. He will be missed , but always remembered. The entire Powell family will keep the Gray Family in our prayers.

  • Dean Clay Posted October 5, 2017 4:16 pm

    My condolences are with you and your family. I worked with John at BLRBAC and considered him a friend and a colleague. He was a professional and devoted himself to improve BLRBAC and achieve its objective to promote improved safety of recovery boilers. He will be missed by many people.

  • Angela Elliott Posted October 6, 2017 9:15 am

    Dick and I are terribly saddened to hear of John’s untimely passing. We were neighbors of the Gray Family on SSI for about 5 years and John, Robi and their children were always a pleasure and so kind to us. Peace and comfort to you all.

  • Terry Lane Posted October 6, 2017 2:01 pm

    My condolences are with you and your family. I worked with John in Brunswick, John was a pleasure to work with, he made every-one around him better. He will be missed by all how knew him.

  • Theresa and William Sullivan Posted October 6, 2017 8:20 pm

    Robi, There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for all of you during these sad and dark days. I can’t believe he is gone. Such a vital man that was loved deeply by each one of you. And who returned that love in a million ways. Please know that you are in our thoughts, prayers and hearts in the days ahead. Hold on my child joy comes in the morning and tears only last through the night. We love you so much.

  • Joni Burford Mazelon Posted October 6, 2017 8:58 pm

    I am a childlhood friend of John. John was probably my first “best” friend. We spent many days playing wiffle ball in his yard with other neighborhood friends. I am deeply saddened to hear of his sudden passing. John was a smart, dedicated friend with a great sense of humor. Although I haven’t seen John in quite a few years, I have wonderful memories of our childhood together at Wesley Church, Taft Elem., and Lincoln Jr. High. The entire Gray family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • John Neff Posted October 7, 2017 5:52 am

    John is was my first friend in 1st grade at Taft. I still remember the day to this day. We spent many days together on the “Hill”, playing in his yard, exploring the pipeline and hanging out with other friends. We stayed friends through our days at SJHS. Although we lost touch after that I still think often of my “first” best friend. Prayers fot the Gray Family.

  • Hope Bruffy Altman Posted October 7, 2017 8:59 am

    I am also a childhood friend of John’s. I graduated from SJ with him. He was sharp and kind. We had a lot of classes together. Our math classes at Lincoln were particularly close due to our wonderful teacher, Ms. Waggy. My thoughts are with you all.

  • Roger Lawton Posted October 7, 2017 11:17 am

    I worked with John on boiler projects at Brunswick and Jesup mills. He was a very sharp and professional engineer and manager, and a better friend. When I told John I was suddenly laid off after 15 years with a company, he jumped in and got me lined up with another company in our industry. I had a job by that evening, that’s the kind of man he was. Our prayers are with Robi and family. He will be missed by many people.

  • George Hires Posted October 7, 2017 12:21 pm

    Pam and I both worked with John and we send our condolences. I gained a lot of respect for John while working with him on several Rayonier shutdowns on various boiler projects. John will be missed!

  • Beckie Baxter-Calvert Posted October 7, 2017 4:15 pm

    John was my neighbor on Hillsdale. John, Nancy and I were best of friends for many years during our childhood. The memories of simple and wonderful times include John John. This news is so sad. May God bless and comfort his family!

  • Everett Hume Posted October 8, 2017 9:37 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. John was a professional, a husband and father. During our meetings at BLRBAC he often talked of his family, a truly “good man”, he will be missed!

  • Carlos Rollan Posted October 8, 2017 5:50 pm

    I first met John when he worked at the GP Brunswick mill. I had the pleasure of working with/for him on a variety of mill projects, and he was always a very kind person. My sincere condolences to his family. He will be missed

  • Angie Ashworth Posted October 8, 2017 9:05 pm

    John was one of the best people I’ve ever known. He was always quick with his kindness and had a warm smile to share. What a special person this world has lost.

  • David Kear Posted October 9, 2017 5:31 am

    My son played baseball with several of John’s sons. I had the pleasure of sitting next to John at many tournament baseball games this Spring and Summer. He was an amazing scorekeeper and coach. I had the honor of checking his pitch count while we discussed baseball and our families.. My sincere condolences to Robi and his boys. We will miss him on the field.

  • John La Fond Posted October 9, 2017 11:57 am

    Our thoughts and prayers reach out to Robi and family during this difficult time. Our company worked with John on implementing boiler upgrade projects since 2004 and interacted with him at BLRBAC for many years. John was a great person to work with and I considered him a friend. He was focused, thoughtful, and a person of high integrity. He will be sorely missed by all that had the pleasure to know him.

  • Timothy Robinson Posted October 9, 2017 8:35 pm

    John was one of my first friends. Once I could venture out of my immediate neighborhood as a child, there was John. Tom, Barbara, Tonya, Lance (the dog) and the welcoming Gray home John lived in were all important to me as we grew up. A loyal friend and a source of laughter and thoughtful silence, John made me better for having known him. I never got to know the man he became but the trajectory from the boy he was assures me that his family got his best and have a lifetime of strength, solidity and wisdom to draw on as they continue. Good bye, my friend.

  • John Moore Posted October 10, 2017 11:23 am

    In reading some of the condolences and tributes to John from those of you that got to know him after his childhood and school years, I’m not surprised to see so many acts of kindness and examples of honor and high values. That is how John grew up. John was a good friend. As we all grew up together, John was the best of us. He definitely worked harder than any of us, and he always seemed to have his priorities in order. He cared about God, his family, and doing the right thing. If John knew you, then somehow you knew that he cared about you in some way. He just cared – a real high-road guy. I can’t believe that he’s gone, and I know that he will be missed by many people. Our hearts go out to John’s wife and kids. John will not be forgotten. Barbara and Tonya, our sincere condolences from the Moore family – Willis, Carolyn, Rich and me.

  • Kent Capper Posted October 10, 2017 11:47 am

    We had the pleasure of being John & Robi’s neighbors. One of the “Best” men I have ever known. His living demonstration of doing the right thing, being a loving, caring man will continue as a legacy to his wonderful family. He will be sorely missed and our love and prayers for his family.

  • John Huffman Posted October 10, 2017 12:48 pm

    I met John about 7 years ago. I found him to be a sincere, caring person and truly professional. He will be missed!

  • Arie Verloop Posted October 11, 2017 6:18 pm

    I have known John for more than ten years, mostly through BLRBAC and work my company conducted at the plants in Jesup and Fernandina Beach. He was a very kind man, considerate for other peoples’ interests and I valued his sincerity and high integrity, uncommonly seen. My condolences and thoughts go out to his wife and the boys and to all of us in our industry that will miss the quality impact he made.

  • Ned Dye Posted October 11, 2017 8:37 pm

    In my many years working in industry. I have found that there are a few people that standout as examples for all of us to follow, John was one of these people that you respected for his integrity, commitment to doing the right thing, and his general kindness to others. I consider John to be a good friend, He will be missed.

    My deepest sympathy to Robi and family. My thoughts are with you..

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