Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
Kirk L. Gray

Kirk L. Gray

March 9, 1948 - May 12, 2020     Age: 72

Kirk Lamond Gray, 72 passed away suddenly, on May 12, 2020, at his home in Ocean Village on Amelia Island.

He was born in Keene, New Hampshire on March 9, 1948.  Kirk was predeceased by his parents, Norman Hamblin Gray and Ann Elaine Lamond Gray.

Kirk served his country in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, Truk District, Islands of Lukunor and Oneop in 1970 and 1971.

He is survived by his wife, Charmaine, his son from his first marriage (Nancy),  Isaac N. Gray (Ellen) and granddaughters Isla and Opal and grandson, Kaleb, residents of Austin, Texas,  cousin Brian Lamond (Elaine) of New Hampshire and many nieces and nephews. In addition, he is survived by his niece Donna Gray, Edina, Minnesota to whom he was like a father, and fondly called her his very favorite niece, despite the obvious of her being his only niece.  

He truly was the totem pole from which his family centered and took guidance.

Kirk and Charmaine were avid travelers and enjoyed visiting many interesting destinations through the years, one of which was a trip to Scotland, where Kirk managed to completely surprise Charmaine with their wedding in the town of Alloa.  

As a resident of Amelia Island, from 1996 to the present, he found great pleasure in the beauty of the island, the people he met and if you made Kirk’s acquaintance, you soon found out that he was quite the comedian and story teller and his quick wit produced lots of smiles and outbursts of laughter .  He loved a good joke, or even a bad one, especially puns. 

Kirk was an avid fan of Baseball and a decades loyal Green Bay Packer fan and could recite endless facts about his favorite topics.  He was an animal lover and throughout his life he always had a canine companion…he leaves behind his favorite, his devoted welsh terrier, Zoey. 

One of his many talents consisted of being quite the wordsmith, and his fondest hobbies were writing a trivia column for the Summer Beach Living magazine until its last issue and for awhile, a humorous neighborhood newsletter, while serving as the President of the Ocean Village Community Association for the past 12 years.  Kirk also served on the Sea Dunes Condo Association Board for seven years during which time the Board made major improvements to the building structure.

During his youth, Kirk’s family moved to the west coast, and he graduated from Claremont High School in San Diego, CA and earned his B.A. in Anthropology at Prescott College, Prescott, AZ, with a dual minor in English and Asian studies in 1969; his M.A. in Anthropology, with Highest Honors in 1974, from Western Michigan University.  He served on the Executive Board for the Society for Applied Anthropology, Fellow.

Kirk was teaching at Western Michigan University and pursuing his Doctorate when he was recruited by the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, to serve as a liaison with investment bankers, local housing and planning officials, and neighborhood groups to ensure the orderly administration of the largest federal housing initiative at that time.   Before leaving his teaching  position, he was awarded the University’s Distinguished Alumnae Award.

He then became the Regional Director of Common Cause in Washington, DC to develop and implement state and national legislative agendas for a nine state region for this national public interest lobby. 

Next he served as the Regional Director of the Office of Public Housing, Philadelphia, PA where he oversaw housing policy and programs for all public and assisted housing in a five state region in the northeast including Washington, DC with a budget authority in excess of $850 million.   He testified before a Congressional housing panel on ways to improve the overall management of housing programs and agencies to prevent waste and mismanagement.  Kirk received a White House commendation for his work.

Subsequently, he served as a Program Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing, in Washington, DC responsible for working with the White House, OMB, HUD and Congressional officials, and the coordination of program management for HUD’s 10 Regional Offices in the nation.

At various times, Kirk served as Faculty, for the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, Pacific Real Estate Institute, Institute for Professional Executive Development (IPED), University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing; Summer Institute and the Wharton School of Business.

Leaving public sector work, he returned to the private sector and in May 1990 formed The Gray Group, and served as President of his company, founded as a private, social investment, management and development company specializing in human and economic development programs leading to economic revitalization of housing communities and self sufficiency of low income residents.

In March 1995, he founded Cornerstone Housing, serving as its CEO and The Gray Group became a subsidiary of Cornerstone Housing.  Cornerstone Housing was a private sector undertaking whose goal was the creation of viable public/private partnerships to revitalize local communities, stimulate neighborhood investment, build local capacity to provide opportunities for motivated hard working families to transition from dependency to self-sufficiency involving mixed income, rental, and new for sale units where obsolete public housing projects once stood. Cornerstone Housing grew to be a nationally recognized company.   Kirk chose to officially retire in 2017.

The family wishes to hold a Celebration of Life gathering on a date to be announced, due to the current COVID restrictions. 

The world is a better place for having known him, as he, throughout life, exhibited a keen sense of civic responsibility, as did his father. When asked how he would like to one day be remembered, he stated promptly, as a Citizen.

Memorial Donations can be made in Kirk’s memory to any of the following organizations:   

  *  Hillsdale College (online at secure.hillsdale.edu/imprimis) or 33 E. College St., Suite 500 Hillsdale, MI                49242

*  St. Jude’s Childrens’ Research Hospital (online at stjude.org ) 

*  Save the Chimps, P. O. Box 20006 Ft. Pierce, FL 34979

*  Judicial Watch  (online at judicialwatch.org/donate) or 425 Third St SW Suite 800 Washington, DC 20024

 

 

19 Condolences

  • Tom Posted May 14, 2020 12:38 pm

    Blessings Charmaine to you and all the family. Kirk was a real pal, a true friend, and a loyal companion to each and all of my family and especially me. God love you both fondly and forever.

  • Nancy Pina-Gray Posted May 14, 2020 3:55 pm

    My hope is that the memories you carry will bring comfort and strength. Kirk was quite the individual–strong, a force to be reckoned with, yet such a good heart. His family was dear to him and he treasured his friends. I am pleased and thankful that I was counted among them. Despite ups and downs, our relationship prevailed. He will be missed. May God’s embrace and the angels around you bring you, Isaac and the family peace during this difficult time.

  • Nancy Petrillo Posted May 14, 2020 4:35 pm

    Dear Charmaine,
    We are so sad and sorry to hear about Kirk’s passing. Kirk and you made Pat and I so comfortable and welcomed to the neighborhood. We will miss his smiling face and would often meet walking the dog. I hope all your beautiful memories will bring you comfort during these difficult days.

    Those We Love Don’t Go Away, they walk beside us everyday.
    Unseen, unheard but always near. Still loved, still missed and always dear.

    Sincerely,

    Pat & Nancy Petrillo

  • Phil and Kim Goodrich Posted May 14, 2020 5:21 pm

    Dear Charmaine,
    We have all lost a very good man and a dear friend. Kirk was remarkable – smart, witty, energetic, thoughtful, caring and so much more. Please know that our deepest love and sympathies are with you.
    Love always,
    Kim and Phil and Jonathan

  • Elizabeth Carter Posted May 14, 2020 5:51 pm

    Dear Charmaine,
    I am so saddened to hear this news. I appreciate Kirk’s tireless efforts to make our neighborhood the best! He will be missed.
    Please accept my heart felt condolences.
    Elizabeth Carter

  • Ed and Laura Zahren Posted May 14, 2020 7:10 pm

    We are so terribly sorry to hear of Kirk’s passing. What a great neighbor and leader of our community. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • John and Arnell Byers Posted May 15, 2020 5:03 pm

    Kirk, my great Scots friend and companion, verbal sparring partner, fierce advocate with a “Far Side” sense of humor, loving husband to Charmaine, Arnell and I will always miss you. I will raise a glass of single malt in your honor tonight.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

  • Fred Stewart Posted May 15, 2020 11:22 pm

    Dear Charmaine,

    Although you and I didn’t know one another, I want you to know how saddened I am to learn the sad news about Kirk. He and I served on the Sea Dunes board together for many years and I always enjoyed his thoughtful wisdom and his unique sense of humor. He was a positive force in the universe and will certainly be missed. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

  • Bernard McDonnell Posted May 17, 2020 11:05 am

    Charmaine,
    Our sincere sympathy.
    Linda and Bernie McDonnell

  • Brian and Elaine Laond Posted May 18, 2020 5:06 pm

    So sorry to hear of Kirk’s passing. We were very close growing up. We kind of drifted apart in the last few years. I will miss him very much.

  • Mary Raines Posted May 19, 2020 12:17 pm

    Charmaine..
    It is hard to find words to express how I feel about Kirk’s passing.
    I respected him in so many ways. I especially enjoyed working with him on the Board for so many years. Our Community would not be what it is today without his many years of sacrifice. I will genuinely miss him and his witty comments on my Facebook photography.
    My deepest sympathy with love to you at this most difficult time.

  • Loyd and Debbie Pakradooni Posted May 20, 2020 11:33 am

    Dear Charmaine,

    We’ve come to understand that Kirk wore many hats in the course of his life, way beyond the scope of his work here at Ocean Village. Debbie and I felt his presence before we got to know him: our newspaper would magically appear at our front door courtesy of Zoey and Kirk, making the rounds before dawn.

    In time we saw that there wasn’t a nook or cranny of this Paradise that he had overlooked in his role as The Mayor and Caretaker. I found a bond with Kirk in that we both shared a slightly warped sense of humor. Laughter was a mainstay of our friendship.

    We now raise our glasses to honor a life well-lived…

    He will be greatly missed.

  • Steve Burris Posted May 22, 2020 10:37 am

    Charmaine,

    I was so sadden to hear of Kirk’s passing. He was such a fun loving fellow and was always so friendly to those around him. I know he was the Cornerstone of the Ocean Village Community and his hard work shows immediately upon entering the gate. He will be so missed by all.

    My thoughts are with you and your family during what must be a very difficult time.

  • PJ Lloyd Posted May 27, 2020 4:11 pm

    I met Kirk a few years ago when he was visiting his niece, Donna Gray. He was kind and witty with a great sense of humor. I will always remember his smile and laugh. My sincere condolences for your loss.

  • Janine and Arden Varney Posted May 27, 2020 4:19 pm

    Dearest Charmaine, We were so sad to learn of Kirk’s passing. He was such a lively, joyful part of our community. As with many, he made us feel welcome and a valued part of the neighborhood. I loved seeing him walking or playing ball on the beach with Zoey. He always had something kind and funny to say. His involvement on the Board and commitment to making this such a beautiful place to live was so appreciated. I will remember him thoughtfully as an “Ideal Citizen” and hope to meet more like him. He will be missed.

  • Martha Hood Posted May 28, 2020 6:11 pm

    I lost touch with Kirk after college but he was never far from my consciousness. He was part of a small group of people with whom I shared a very happy time in the late 1960s. Kirk was smart, fun and above all, honorable and kind.

    Charmaine and Isaac, I will help to keep his memory alive whenever I tell the stories of those days.

  • Carole Gray Posted July 9, 2020 3:16 pm

    Dear Charmaine I am so sad to learn of Kirk’s death. You will not know me but I am a member of the Gray family. My name is Carole Gray and I am the wife of the late Frank Gray. My husband was the half brother of Norman Gray Kirk’s father. My husband died in in 2013. He was a journalist and a published author. I live in London England and we lived in Canada where our children were all born. We never did get to meet Kirk but I met him as a teenager when we visited his mother and father in their home in San Diego and had a lovely weekend. We were just married at the time. Kirk achieved so much in his life. We did have a visit a long time ago from Donna his niece. How is his brother Bruce? I hope you will get in touch with me. My niece informed us of Kirk’s death. I hope you are all well and keeping safe from the virus. As you know we had so many die in the UK and our government made many wrong decisions . Thinking of you.
    Carole

  • Carole Gray Posted July 9, 2020 10:53 pm

    Dear Charmaine please get in touch with me as I have so much knowledge of the Gray family which you may want to know my regular e-mail is carolegraytibet@outlook.com

  • Christine J Kenderdine Posted July 12, 2020 9:21 am

    I LOVED reading all the wonderful things about Kirk, your precious husband. What a guy! I would have
    loved to have met him. I would tell him all about YOU in high school You are the perfect friend, and you
    deserved all the BEST things life could give. I would tell him of the many times I set at your mom’s table
    breaking bread, with all the people, not only family. Your mom must have ADORED him. I would tell him
    how happy just being around you Charmaine made others happy. You could always laugh at yourself, what
    a gift. We girls loved to let you know nothings ever gonna hurt you, not while we’re around. Your sweet mom loved her girls, her grandchildren, being family. She made a lasting impression, even if you only met
    her once. I will pray the memories and love Kirk gave you will console you my friend. I KNEW you had
    married your soulmate, honestly, and that spoke VOLUMES that God is always in your corner.

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