John Gray, 68, the widely respected and beloved principal at Barrington High School for 29 years until 2009, died on Tuesday, Aug. 28, from pancreatic cancer.
He was married to Cheryl (Kottler) Gray for 44 years.
The announcement of his death was made to the Barrington Public Schools community in an email circulated by Superintendent Michael Messore late Tuesday afternoon. It has been “a very difficult time” at the high school since the announcement, according to a staff member at the school.
The email read:
“John was truly an innovative educator and always an advocate for our children. His level of commitment and dedication to education was always focused on each and every student.
“John set the bar high and expected the very best from everyone as he demonstrated this by example. He was the first to recognize the accomplishments of teachers as well as students and never took credit for himself but always gave credit to others. He was extremely supportive of our District and our community as he considered both to be partners in the educational process.”
Calling hours will be held on Thursday Aug. 30, in the W. Raymond Watson Funeral Home http://www.wrwatsonfuneralhome.com/obits.php?id=561 , 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside. A Memorial Service will held on Saturday Sept. 1, at 10 am, in St. James Lutheran Church on Middle Highway in Barrington.
Burial will be in Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, Conn. Flowers are respectfully omitted.
Contributions in his memory can be made to Home & Hospice Care of RI, 1085 North Main St. Providence, RI, 02904 or the American Cancer Society, 931 Jefferson Blvd, Suite 3004, Warwick, RI, 02886.
Friends and neighbors created an account with "Lotsa Helping Hands" to support the family during Gray's illness, according to a family friend.
Gray most recently served in Barrington for a half year as the interim principal at Nayatt Elementary School. He also served as the interim principal at East Greenwich High School for six months last year.
Gray oversaw a $14.1 million renovation project in 2000 at the high school that was the first significant improvements to the school since it was built in the 1950s. He was credited with bringing the school up to blue ribbon status.
Gray was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, the son of the late Reginald and Rita (Carter) Gray. He lived in Barrington for 28 years and Riverside for 5 years.
Gray graduated from the University of Maine in 1966. He earned his education administration degree from the University of Connecticut.
Gray started in education in in Rockland, Maine, before moving to schools in Norwalk and Ledyard, Conn. Before moving to Barrington, he an assistant principal in Stonington, Conn.
Gray was a Navy veteran, serving on the U.S.S. Fulton during the Vietnam conflict.
Other survivors are a daughter; Michelle A. Medeiros of Barrington, a son; Adam P. Gray of Ellington, Conn., a brother; Reginald Gray and his wife Betty of Houlton, Maine, and four grandchildren; Morgan and Brandon Medeiros and Ethan and Isabel Gray. He was the father of the late John Michael Gray.