Thursday, 30 May 2024

Brian Gray

Brian Keith Gray was born on Aug. 12, 1938, in Eureka, Mont., to Keifer and Josephine Fleming Gray. He died August 5, 2013, in Kelseyville, Calif., from COPD.

His father was in the customs and immigration service, so every two years of Brian’s childhood they moved to another station. He grew up in Long Beach, Salt Lake City, New York City, Spokane, and Helena, Mont., among other places. He graduated from West Seattle High School in 1956.

He joined the U. S. Air Force, and was sent to the U.S. Army Defense Language Institute for a year to study Russian. He was then posted in Berlin, Germany for the next three years. He married Gisela Denecke, and their first son Phillip was born there.

They returned to Bellevue, Wash., in 1960. He worked for the Seattle Police Department for seven years, during which time his second son Michael was born.

His first job was in Helena when he was 12 years old, mixing DDT in a barrel and loading it onto a crop dusting airplane. He was paid with flying lessons, and a love for aviation was born.

That interest was sparked again in 1967 in Bellevue, when his photography hobby took him to the local airport to shoot some film. He then spent the next two years, when he was not working, getting the licenses and ratings necessary to be hired by an airline.

In 1969 he was hired by Wien Consolidated Airlines, later renamed Wien Air Alaska, and relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. At that time Wien was the oldest airline in the United States. Until they went into bankruptcy and out of business in 1984 he loved flying all over Alaska, as well as into the lower 48. He flew Pilates Porters, Twin Otters, Skyvans, 737s and DC 8s.

In 1986 he was hired by United Airlines, relocated to the Bay Area, and flew 727s and 747s until his retirement in 1999.

Following his divorce from Gisela he married Lorrie Brieno in 1982.

He is survived by wife, Lorrie; his son, Phillip and daughter-in-law Marvel of Windsor; son, Michael and his daughter Madeline of Mt. Vernon, Wash.; niece, Susan Lockwood, her two children Leslie and Joe, and nephew Peter Lockwood and his daughter Amanda.

He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Marilyn Gray Lockwood.

Brian was a proud member of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for his entire career. He was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 24 years.

He was an active community volunteer in Lake County since moving here in 1991. He served on the board of directors of the Lake County Chapter of the American Red Cross, was a Cal Fire Volunteer in Prevention, ham radio operator KD6JAL and a member of the Lake County Amateur Radio Society. He used his communication skills during several disasters, as well as bicycle events such as the Konocti Challenge and the Davis to Davis double century.

He enjoyed building and flying model airplanes, and was a member of the Clear Lake Modelers. Photography was always a favorite pastime. He designed and built water systems for community gardens for the Lake County Hunger Task Force.

He was a kind, loving, generous, gentle soul and will be missed by all who crossed his path.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Aug. 17.

Memorial contributions can be made in his name to a charity of your choice.

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