Verne Rex Gray Jr., 92, died peacefully at Genesis Medical Center on December 27, 2022. He was known for his integrity and strong sense of responsibility, both in his career and his dedication to the Gospel. Visitation will be from 10:00-11:00 am on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at Halligan, McCabe, DeVries, in Davenport, followed by the funeral service at 11:00 am. Burial will be in Rock Island National Cemetery.
Verne was born in Rockford, Illinois, on July 25, 1930, to Verne Rex Gray and Gladys Gustafson Gray. His parents moved to the Quad Cities in 1935, where Verne Jr. was educated in the Davenport public school system, culminating in his graduation from Davenport High School in 1948. He joined the U.S. Army shortly out of high school and served in the Army of Occupation in Bremerhaven, Germany, from February 1949 to April 1952, where he won many athletic awards in multiple sports.
Verne was hired by Alcoa as a laborer in July 1952 and attended the American Institute of Commerce, where he earned certification as an accountant in 1954 while working the night shift. At Alcoa, he met his wife-to-be, Alice Rebecca Plunkett, and they were married in October 1964. Through a series of promotions, Verne became the General Accounting Manager and Tax Administrator of Alcoa Davenport Works in 1984 and retired in May 1993. He received certificates of appreciation for his work and influence helping form tax policy for the State of Iowa.
Verne held many church offices in his lifetime and was Board Treasurer for the Mississippi Valley Association of Evangelicals for many years. He believed his most important and rewarding activity was when, after retirement, he and Alice served as missionaries in Russia, under the sponsorship of The Commission and OMS. They taught Christian Ethics and Morality in Russian public schools, befriended many teachers and held Bible studies in their Vladimir apartment.
In his retirement, he also enjoyed reading about history, watching the Hawkeyes, Cubs and Bears and playing golf. He finally made a hole in one at age 81.
Verne is survived by his wife Alice; children Tom Gray, Valerie (David) Becker, Vicki (Ron) Teel, Stephen (Becky) Gray and Susan Gray Blue (Mike Capozzola); brother Donald Gray (Joanne); and deeply loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Shirley Smith, Rosemary Gapinski, Betty Cook and Dorothy Allshouse.