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Charles Colley Gray, Sr, born March 4th, 1935 to Charles McDuffy and Helen Colley Gray passed away quietly on Sunday September 11th, 2016. Charles grew up on a farm in Prattville, AL where he raised vegetables and pigs to pay for his college education. He graduated from Middle Georgia College and Troy University where he met the love of his life and wife of 61 years, Clara Neele Price Gray. Charles was a natural athlete playing football and baseball in high school and college and went on to coach both sports at a high school level in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Charles coached at Marbury High School in Marbury, AL, his father’s alma mater and then helped start Autauga Academy as the first headmaster, coach and athletic director in Prattville, AL. In 1975 Charles and Clara moved their family to Gulf Breeze, FL and he became the dean of students at Gulf Breeze High School where he remained for 11 years. After a short stay as assistant principal at Gulf Breeze Middle School he moved on to be the principal of Oriole Beach Elementary School where he retired from in 1998. After retirement Charles was an avid golfer, a member of ROMEO’s (retired old men eating out), a mentor for students and an advisor to graduating teachers from University of West Florida along with many other community outreach activities. Charles was a centerpiece of the Gulf Breeze Optimist Club for the last 41 years because for him it has always been about the youth! Charles is survived by his wife of 61 years Clara “Bell” Gray; his three children and their spouses, Skip and Krysta Gray, Karen and Mark Meister and Robert and Kim Gray; 6 grandsons and their wives, Lee and Sara Gray, Jae and Malorie Gray, Brian and Natalie Meister, Adam and Kelley Meister, Daniel and Katie Meister, Neele and Abbey Gray and his 8 great grandchildren. The family request in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Charles Gray Scholarship Fund at the Gulf Breeze Optimist Club, P O Box 687 Gulf Breeze, FL 32562-0687; to be awarded to an aspiring educator who exemplifies the same strong character that Charles lived by while serving the children of this community. The visitation will be Thursday, September 15th from 5 to 8 pm at Rose Lawn Funeral Home, 2942 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563. The funeral will be at 11 am on Friday September 16th at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church, 75 Fairpoint Dr, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561. There will be a reception in the fellowship hall at the church immediately following the funeral; there will be a private entombment for the family at 2 pm. Rose Lawn Funeral home is in charge of the arrangements.
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