Mississippi has lost one if its great leaders with the death of Duncan M. Gray, Jr. today. Bishop Gray was a bold but gentle, visionary but grounded, and beloved but humble figure.
He served this Diocese well as Bishop for nearly 20 years. However, his 64 years of ordained life – before, during and after his episcopate – were marked by courage, a yearning for peace and justice, and a dedication to the Gospel which he so clearly proclaimed. His life was profoundly impacted by his dedication to his Lord.
His life and ministry have been concurrent with Mississippi’s struggles to bring about reconciliation, equality and justice for all races. He was on the front line of many of those struggles. He was faithfully accompanied by his wife, Ruthie, who predeceased him. Together they reared two sons and two daughters – all of whom were a source of great pride, and testimony to their parents’ dedication to one another and integrity. His son, Duncan III, ultimately followed his father as a priest and Bishop of Mississippi.
For all his courageous and faithful service, he will be remembered by many clergy, both past and present, simply as a gentle mentor, a wise leader, and a good friend.
Now as much as any time, I am aware that I walk in the steps of a great Bishop. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.+