Jim was born on November 10, 1932 in Niagara Falls, NY, the son of the late George Edwin Gray and the late Beulah (Liz) Butler.
He is survived by his loving wife, Jody (Lammerts) Gray, and 5 children: son Mark (Linda) Gray, of Ransomville NY; daughters Jami (Jim) Brown, of Myrtle Creek, OR; Jacque (Bob) McConnaghy, of Skaneateles, NY; Jodi (Michael. )McLean of Pacific Grove, CA and his “baby,” Kristin (Jack) Chappell, of Oswego, NY. He also has two beloved grandchildren, Kelsey (Kyle) Norlin of Anacortes, WA and Shaun McConnaghy, of Chicago, IL. And the mother of Jim’s children, Mary Brass Gray.
Jim was born in Niagara Falls, and attended Niagara Falls schools.
Jim’s life was devoted to helping others. As a youth in Niagara Falls and in LaSalle, he had three paper routes. When he was just 10, he scrubbed kitchen floors for money to help his family. He also took a wagon to the train yards and picked up fallen lumps of coal for the furnace. As a teenager, he painted houses for cash, to help his family’s finances.
He joined in The U.S. Navy at 17, and served as an aircraft mechanic during the Korean War.
He came home and worked at various jobs. Then he found his calling. He joined the Niagara Falls Police Department. He served 50 years as a police officer, spending most of those years as a Captain.
He was a graduate of the 126th Session of the elite FBI National Academy. He also graduated from many Police, Fire and Public Safety courses over the years. He was a NY State Certified Firefighter, volunteering for over 20 years with the Cambria Volunteer Fire Co.
He was assigned to many commands over his years in the Police Depertment, including Patrol, Internal Affairs, the Detective Bureau and the the Organized Crime Task Force. He served as Chief of Homicide and of Juvenile Aid. He also spent many years as Co-Director of the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy.
His first love, however, was Patrol. When he ended his Police career at age 70, in 2002, he was Commander, for a second time, of his beloved “B” Platoon.
After retiring, he immediately began work with NY State Racing and Wagering. He helped set-up the State’s system at the new Seneca Niagara Casino.
He worked there for several years before retiring to travel the Eastern US in his motorhome with his wife and dog. He also enjoyed cruises on Regent Cruise Lines, most recently in Europe and the Caribbean, and tending to his beloved roses.
He was an Exempt and Life Member of the Cambria Volunteer Fire Dept. He served as an active Firefighter, as well as in Fire Police. He was also President for several terms, and a member of the Board of Directors for many years. Jim was also very active and multiple time president of the LaSalle Lion’s Club for many years.
A celebration of life service will be held on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 2:00 pm at Immaculate Conception RC Church, 4671 Townline Rd., (Rte. 429) Ransomville with the Rev James Bastian officiating. Reception to folow at the Cambria Volunteer Fire Company, 4361 Cambria-Wilson Rd., Lockport, 14094. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Cambria Volunteer Fire Co. Ambulance Fund. Arrangements have been entrusted to HARDISON FUNERAL HOME, 3648 Ransomville Rd. Ransomville.