Obituary of Melville Elliot Gray
October 2, 1935 – Calgary, Alberta
October 9, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta
Our dear father, Mel passed away peacefully on Monday, October 9, 2023.
Mel was born in Calgary to Doris and Elliot Gray on October 2, 1935. Mel and his brothers, Keith and Ken, and sister, Beverly, grew up in Ogden. He went to Central High School and had a keen interest in photography, radio, and electronics. Mel went on to study electrical engineering at the University of Alberta, where, after a brief stint working as a mechanic in Norman Wells, NT (he liked to joke he was the first co-op student), he graduated in 1959 and started his career with oilfield service company Schlumberger.
Mel met the love of his life, Margaret, while studying in Edmonton and they were married on September 29, 1960. Schlumberger kept the young couple on the move around the oilfields of Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan, but they somehow managed to have five children during this period – Ken, Diane, Glen, Donald, and Stuart.
Mel’s love of technology saw him pioneer digital transmittal of well log data which propelled him to increasingly important roles with Schlumberger and took the young family to Texas, Australia, Venezuela, and then back to Texas where he was appointed President of Schlumberger subsidiary Johnston. At Johnston, he developed the first electronically recorded pressure gauges. In 1980, the family returned to Calgary where Mel headed up Schlumberger Canada before leaving Schlumberger in 1982. He then went to Silicon Valley for a year leading a technology start-up before again returning to Calgary to run Resman Oil and Gas with his buddies Don Hunter and Don Taylor. Dad was very proud of having worked in the oil and gas industry, bringing affordable energy to enrich people’s lives around the world, and he remained a vocal supporter for the rest of his life.
Dad finally retired for good in 1996 and immediately purchased a home in the Bahamas where he and Mom wintered for the next 22 years, hosting countless family and friends over the years and treating them to grilled lobster tails and a cold Kalik. Summers were spent in Calgary and at their Bar KC cabin, again surrounded by family and friends with plenty of pancakes and champagne. Continuing his love of technology and photography, he became an avid drone enthusiast, constantly looking for new applications of the technology and sharing his drone photos with everyone. Mel was also very active in the Calgary South Rotary Club, and in the Bahamas, he volunteered widely, participated in Rotary and other fundraisers, and led an effort to donate computers at the local school.
Over the last few years, our Mom was stricken with severe dementia, and Dad devoted his remaining years to caring for her, first at home and then in an assisted care facility where he would visit Mom every day and then phone again to wish her goodnight. Covid forced them apart for a time, but Dad figured out a way around the system and was soon back by her side. He always said Margaret was the love of his life, and he cared for her right to the end.
In his final days, Dad joked (only partially) that he was the first victim of climate change, not from any change in climate mind you, but from the stress caused by the misinformation and poor policy associated with the subject.
Most important of all to him was his family whom he loved deeply and believed in completely. We are grateful that he was surrounded by the love of family and friends in his final days.
Mel is survived by his beautiful wife Margaret; five children and their spouses, Ken and Christine Gray of Calgary, Diane and Kevin Arnell of Quesnel, BC, Glen and Moorea Gray of Calgary, Don and Kim Gray of Arizona, and Stuart and Christine Gray of Calgary; seventeen grandchildren, Shannon Wolf and her husband Aaron Baker of Grand Forks, BC, Andrew Wolf of Kelowna, BC, Shannon Shadoff and her husband Kyle of Quesnel, BC, Jenny Arnell of Saskatoon, SK, Jessie Gray of Los Angeles, CA, Kaela Gray of Phoenix, AZ, Eliza Gray of Vancouver, BC, Tara Gray of Midland, TX, Scottie Gray of London, England, Olivia Gray of Calgary, Aidan Gray of Calgary, Nicole Gray of Fort Worth, TX, Sam Gray of Phoenix, AZ, Paul Gray of Calgary, Ariana Gray of Calgary, Liam Gray of Calgary, and Anna Gray of Calgary; and two great-grandchildren, Lachlan Baker of Grand Forks, BC and Freddie Shadoff of Quesnel, BC. Mel is also survived by his brother Keith Gray of Lethbridge, AB, and his sister Beverly Giles of Cochrane, AB, and Mary Baston of Calgary, AB. Mel was predeceased by his brother Ken Gray of Edmonton, AB.
A Celebration of Mel’s life will be held at The Glencoe Club (636 – 29th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Mel’s family here.
If friends so desire, memorial donations in memory of Mel can be made to The Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation and sent to the Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park, Unit #120, 200 Rivercrest Dr. SE, Calgary, AB T2C 2X5.
In living memory of Melville Gray, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.