Joseph E. Gray, 95: Lifelong engineer, met Henry Ford

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CUMBERLAND — Joseph E. Gray, 95, died peacefully Jan. 20, at the home of his daughter, Colleen Allen, in Cumberland. He was surrounded by his children.

Gray was born Jan. 1, 1918, in Toledo, Ohio, the first of five children to Hubert and Lucy Gray. He attended Toledo schools and moved to Detroit, Mich., to attend the University of Detroit, where he graduated with a degree in engineering. He was hired by Ford Motor Company while still in school, and there had the opportunity to meet Henry Ford in a research lab. His work was interrupted by World War II, when he served in the Navy as a ship radio repairman in the Pacific Theater. Upon returning to Detroit, he married Phyllis McFalda, and they raised their family in Livonia, Mich.

Gray worked for Ford in the transmission department for 38 years. He was an active communicant at St. Damien’s Church, and a Boy Scout leader, testing and passing young Scouts on merit badges in mechanics and electricity.

In retirement, he and his wife enjoyed many summers on Sheepscot Pond in Palermo, where they spent countless happy hours with family and friends. The couple wintered in Port St Lucie, Fla., and were enthusiastic travelers in their motor home, making trips to every continental U.S. state. He remained very active playing golf, keeping a vegetable garden and weekly contract bridge meets. Gray remained a volunteer even in retirement, working for HR Block assisting with tax preparation, and during the summers, working on repairing and refurbishing old railroad cars for the Maine Rail Group, Augusta.

He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Phyllis; three siblings, Vincent Gray, Thomas Gray and Charlotte Gray; and one child, Carol Gray Messina.

He is survived by his sister, Dolores Stabile; children, Fr. Timothy Gray, Colleen Gray Allen, Molly Carmody and Peter Gray; daughter-in-law, Caryn Gray; sons-in-law, Bruce Allen and William Carmody; grandchildren, Jesse, Joshua and wife, Kimberly, Carrie and Sean Allen, Justin and wife, Eve, Ashley and husband John, Kyle Gray, George and wife, Erynne, Henna Messina and Willow Carmody; and great-grandchildren Keegan, Caleb and Kiernan Allen, Tyler Allen, Max Gray and Graeye Messina.

The family would like to thank staff at Hospice of Maine for their comfort and support, and the staff at Foreside Harbor and Falmouth-by-the-Sea for the wonderful care and companionship given over the years.

His family will gather in Maine this spring for a committal service at Farris Cemetery in Cumberland.

Arrangements under the care of Lindquist Funeral Home in Yarmouth.