Rolland V Gray, 87, passed away with his family by his side. He was the second of five children born to John and Louise Gray living in Chula Vista, CA. The family moved to Chewelah, where he worked summer during high school working at several fire lookouts in northeast Washington.
After graduating from Chewelah High School, he joined the U.S. Marine Corp. in 1945. His service took him to northern China, where he served with one of the last remaining units there prior to the communist takeover. He was called back into the service for 14 months to Korea during that war. Rolland didnâ€™t say much about that time of his life, only that it was cold when he got to Korea and cold when he left.
After returning home, he married Mary Jean Whitten of Colville in 1952. Together they lived in Colville, where he found full-time employment as an administrative clerk for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the national wildlife refuge southeast of town. In 1965, he was transferred to a new refuge that later was named William L. Finley NWR, south of Corvallis, OR. There, he worked until his retirement from the government in 1982. After leaving the refuge, he worked for 10 years as a maintenance man for Knoll Terrace Park in the Lewisburg area until his second retirement at age 65.
He was preceded in death by his sisters, Francis Nussbaum and Alice Murphy.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, May Jean; son, Dale Gray, Albany OR; daughter, Sandra Bearden, Tulsa, OK; grandkids, Benjamin Gray (Becky), Corvallis; Candice Lawrence (Chris), Sweet Home, OR; Travis Gray (Vanessa), Portland, OR; Fancy Hallmark, Tulsa, OK; siblings, Bonnie, Creston; and Thomas Gray, Arizona. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren.
Those who knew Rolland would all say that he was a man of few words and a loving heart. In that spirit, he requested that no formal funeral service be held.
The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, that a contribution to the American Cancer Society be made in his memory. He will be laid to rest privately in Colville.