Don Gray

Profile Updated: November 21, 2020
Residing In: Fairbanks, AK USA
Spouse/Partner: M. Carolyn
Occupation: HS History Teacher 23 years; stock broker 12 yrs
Children: two grown daughters; Anne, Nov 1973, and Julia, May 1979.
Annie, a school music teacher in Anchorage, More…has twin sons, Cameron & Sawyer, born Ground Hog Day 2008.
Julia also a teacher, is currently teaching History at North Pole HS school in Fairbanks.
Military Service: U.S. Peace Corps 1966-68  
After Graduation:

Went to Stanford September 1962 and discovered a new world. Rowed crew frosh year, starboard oar. Went overseas for first time in summer 1964 to tutor Chinese doctors in English in crown colony of Hong Kong. Studied in Florence, Italy 6 months and learned Italian, for which I am ever thankful, (got to know my relatives there well over the years).

Graduated with Anthropology major in 1966, joined the Peace Corps and lived near Calcutta, West Bengal, India for two years, working with rice farmers. Also drilled water wells at schools during Bihar drought & famine. Peace Corps was a major life-changing experience.

Returned to Stanford for M.A. and teacher-credentialing program; met my wife, Carolyn, a classmate and former RPCV in Panama, and we married and flew to Fairbanks, Alaska to teach History at Lathrop High School for 23 years, (mostly World; some US; Geography & Government occasionally). Enjoyed working with high school students as a career and believe I was a good teacher. Was able to teach for a year in the north of England northeast of Manchester on a Fulbright Exchange. Our daughter, Annie, began school in our village at 4 1/2 and our second daughter was born there at the end of our stay. Learned a lot from the differences between Britain and America: "Two nations separated by a common language" as Mark Twain once said.

Teaching is hard but important work, too often ignored except in political discussions. Dick Roddewig, Ed Sugars and Hal Brown, among others, were all inspirational teachers for me at Woodland High. Am very grateful for the good teachers that my own children had in school. Am proud of how many of my former students "turned out well" and hope my efforts contributed.

Retired in 1993 for a few months, then began a second career as a stock broker for a national firm, training at the World Trade Center, south tower, in May 1994 and ended up working in finance for nearly a dozen years.
Although we've traveled quite a bit over the years and returned frequently to Woodland, we continue to live in Fairbanks in retirement because of the many people with whom we've shared our adult lives and our daughters who also live in Alaska. Alaska is a small town spread over a large space, with many opportunities for a variety of life experiences.

Will add more later; maybe a photo or two.
Hope this helps us catch up before we meet next September and that others of you add details on your last 50 years. There is plenty of space for 8000+ characters of writing. You can even add YouTube videos.
This IS your life...

*** **** ***

Historic Decision today, June 28, 2012: Chief Justice Roberts led a 5-4 decision that the President's Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 IS 100% LEGAL, except the penalty provision if states do not agree to increase Medicaid for the needy. There, the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) said that states could NOT be forced to do this by threatening them with removal of Medicare, ("Don't touch my Medicare"---something all us 65 and older receive from the Federal Government even if we never were in the out-of-the-home work force).
Unlike our other major National Government senior citizen benefit, Social Security, (which only those who contribute to SS can receive--I paid into SS when I was a stock broker and get it, although it is reduced by 40% because of the unfair 1986 changes by Congress; my wife, who only taught for 26 years and contributed 7 1/2% of gross teacher salary every year, does not receive any Social Security because Alaska teachers are not part of the SSI system. Our Teacher Retirement System was created in the 1940's before Statehood, when only private workers were able to join the Social Security system. Public employees were finally able to join the system in the 1950's, but Alaska didn't become a state until January 3rd, 1959--when we were still Freshman in Mr. Hal Brown's English class or Mr. Mosher's Algebra I class, (Jerry, he made math fun! You had a great teacher as a dad.). California and all the other states, except for Hawaii,were already states by 1912, 100 years ago. Did I mention I was a history teacher for 23 years?

*** **** ***
On May 13, 2012 the Chairman of the Alaska Democratic Party resigned to run for the Alaska Legislature and I got thrown into the briar patch of Politics, (some would say swamp/sewer/sausage factory), since I was the First Vice-Chair. Being in the "D" party, we have 10 V-C's in Alaska, 5 male, 5 female, one pair of V-C's each in five different regions. So I am Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party through the General Election next November until about February 1st, 2013. I mention this because I realize we are deeply divided over politics in America today and sometimes it seems to carry over into our class of 1962. Every just relax. Politics is like baseball: you win some, you lose some and there's always a new season next year. We have the best democracy (little d) in the world, imperfect as it may be, in my opinion, because although we bicker over this and that, in the end we come together and come together as Americans. We who grew up in California come from a state that escaped the tragedy of the War of Northern Aggression, a.k.a. the Civil War. That fact makes California special, and despite its any problems, California will survive when you guys stop fighting among yourselves. You can move to Alaska if you want, but I don't think you'll like our winters. :-)
******************************
June 2016 Another "short" court US Supreme Court decision.
Despite the Congress not wanting to even hear from the Republican nominee to the SCOTUS, the 8 member court decided 5-3 today that Texas could not set up extra requirements to prevent pregnant women in that state from having access to a legal abortion. Since it is the law of the land, Texas will have to drop their illegal laws (or secede from the Union, should they so choose).
Hope all are having a warm and pleasant summer 2016. Two years to our 55th WHS reunion!

Don's Latest Interactions

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Don Gray posted a message.
Jul
02
Jul 02, 2022 at 2:10 PM

Hi Judi! Am looking forward to this 60th WHS'62 Reunion August 27th-28th. Have started sending out "reminder notes" to friends farther than 50 or 75 miles from Woodland. Bill Duncan, Tom Richard and John Kimura responded optimistically, my Carolyn and I have registered; haven't heard back from Josefa, Julie, Mary Eve, Gene Difuntorum or Gloria Heidrick.
Looking at your conversation with Julie in 2012, you've probably been to 6 continents and maybe even Antarctica by now---ten years later. Still have to get plane tickets. Prices are sky high as well as car rental fees. We're already booked for a "Celebration of Life"(funeral) of a relative in Rhode Island this month. But reunions with friends are just as important!

Look forward to hearing of your travels over the years . Don

Don Gray posted a message.
Jun
22
Jun 22, 2022 at 2:06 PM

Melinda, Hope you are able to come to the Class of 1962 60th Reunion on August 27, 2022.
It may be the last according to some.
Don

Don Gray posted a message.
Jun
14
Jun 14, 2022 at 2:15 PM

Carolyn and I enjoy your newly posted family at the beach photo. We echo Tom Richard's wish that you and Paul come out to the August reunion this summer.

Don Gray has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Jun 14, 2022 at 2:07 PM

So sorry to learn of Rod's passing. Hadn't learned of it and was looking forward to seeing him at the upcoming August 2022 WHS Reunion. Remember Rod from our Kindergarten class at Holy Rosary way back in 1949-50, so very long ago, yet kept alive in our minds from the photos of that first school experiences. Farewell, Rod----Don Gray

Don Gray added a comment on his Profile.
Jun 14, 2022 at 1:54 PM
Don Gray posted a message.
Mar
28
Mar 28, 2022 at 4:19 PM

Hope you had a very pleasing 77th Birthday yesterday. As we all grow older, it makes our 60th Reunion of the Class of 1962 an important gathering this year. I believe we have one upcoming near the end of August this year. Be happy and stay healthy my friend, and enjoy your daughters and their families.

Don Gray posted a message.
Jan
12
Jan 12, 2022 at 12:40 PM

Hi Bill==. Looks like you and Susan are expanding your business. Congratulations! Multilingual knowledge is VITAL in today's world. Best wishes in the New Year!
Don & Carolyn

Don Gray posted a message.
Dec
08
Dec 08, 2021 at 6:58 AM

Happy (belated) Birthday, Bill! Am certain you and Becky celebrated well & appropriately. Was remembering how you and I and Tony Demaria celebrated November 30 together in our youth in those nostalgic 1950’s. Looking forward to the Reunion of ‘62 in August. Roots go deep. Best wishes, Don

Don Gray has a birthday today.
Nov
30
Nov 30, 2021 at 1:33 AM
Don Gray has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
May 16, 2021 at 2:01 PM

Kent will definitely be missed---he came to every reunion the class of WHS-'62 ever had.  His friendly low-key genuine personality made him the guy you always enjoyed to see again.  Kent and I first met when we played Little League baseball together in Woodland back in the mid-1950's. I can't recall which team he was on but remember him as a great catcher squatting between the batter and the umpire in many games over the years. Another great memory is cruising Main Street in his powder blue snazzy car between the A&W and the bowling alley, (alá the popular movie, American Graffiti, set in 1960's small-town Modesto).  We miss all our classmates who've passed away but I admit I miss Kent just a wee bit more. He was kind and caring.  Farewell dear friend.

 

Don Gray posted a message.
Mar 28, 2021 at 12:34 AM

Have a thoughtful Happy Birthday, Melinda. This fourth quarter of our lives can be a reflective one. You’ve accomplished a great deal in your life yet in many ways, who and what you know can help many others in future. It’s been a long and frustrating year. Hope you are healthy and in good spirits. Best wishes, Don

Don Gray has a birthday today.
Nov 30, 2020 at 1:33 AM
Don Gray posted a message.
Nov 21, 2020 at 2:09 PM

A very Happy Birthday to you, Judi.
I wrote something earlier today but it seems to have disappeared . Hope your birthday last Tuesday was celebrated well in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions and dangers.
Best wishes from a fellow November 1944 birthday person! Being 77 is sorta' middle-aged so stay in good health and spirits as we stride into 2021. CHEERS!

Don Gray posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 22, 2020 at 7:42 AM

Posted on: Nov 21, 2020 at 1:21 PM

2020--Certainly one helluva strange and painful year.
The Plague pandemic of Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Whatever you wish to call it, has been horrible. Personally my family is small in number: Counting my wife, grown daughters, one son-in-law and two grandsons and myself there are only seven of us. 7 + my brother, Malcolm (WHS, 1964).
But so many people in this country and around the world have lost loved ones around the world---Truly heart-breaking.

The Economic and Political landscapes have been bizarre beyond belief:
An Economy fractured between Wealth (record high stock market indexes & prices) and the Brink of Bankruptcy (hundreds of thousands unable to pay their mortgages or rent and soon to be evicted & homeless).
A Presidential campaign that seemed perpetual, extending from early 2019 until Election Day 2020, and then continued with the loser unwilling to accept or cooperate or believe the results as Thanksgiving & Christmas loom ahead. I apologize for bringing contemporary pain to our high school chronicle. As we grow older it helps us remember events beyond ourselves that have affected many of us. Don't know about the rest of you, but I'm looking forward to 2021!

Don Gray posted a message.
Nov 21, 2020 at 11:10 AM

Hi Josefa, and hope your Birthday Wednesday was a Most Happy Birthday! I should have sent best wishes last week when the first reminder came out as things got busy and distracting as the week went on. Your wonderful family is growing up. Are you able to see your grandkids despite all the coronavirus isolation we're all living through? Reading your recent profile update, you're still playing soccer or is that banned in California (or merely dangerous under the pandemic?). Seeing our classmates on the websites makes me remember what a wonderful group of classmates we had at Woodland High. Carolyn and I went to the 55th reunion in 2017 but they are so brief. It's frustrating to see friends at the dinner for a few minutes or at the relaxing get-together the Sunday morning after and then Poof! it's over and they scatter and some we never see again. Was talking to Tom Richard about Jerry Pujol passing away not long after that last reunion. Seeing Nita, Rita, Gene Diff and Smokey's comments was heartwarming.
Well--continue to wake in good health daily and enjoy your family. Sorry we didn't connect when you and your family came to Alaska 2 1/2 years ago. I forget which of your relatives lives in Anchorage or Juneau. You'd mentioned it at the last reunion that they were there. If you come north as far as Fairbanks, please let me know so you and Roger can come over for a visit. Presuming COVID-19 will finally subside and "normal" life will return (more or less!).

Best wishes again--Don.

Don Gray updated his profile. View.
Dec 04, 2019 at 12:49 PM
Don Gray has a birthday today.
Nov 30, 2019 at 1:35 AM
Don Gray posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 12, 2019 at 12:28 PM

Posted on: Sep 08, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Hi Josefa---I'm a bit confused by all these birthday greetings being sent to you this week and yet your birthday on the Profile above says that your birthday is November 18, 1944. Also the Class of Woodland 1962 went bing recently and it says you updated your profile September 6, 2019 (two days ago). Sooooo, is your birthday IN SEPTEMBER OR NOVEMBER? Just curious. {{ Happy Birthday! if it really is September 18 1944 }} .

BTW, the next time you and Roger go to visit his brother's family in Palmer, please remind him that JOYCE Alameda, MARY Eve, JULIE Eis and TOM Richard have all visited Fairbanks and gotten together with Carolyn and me. And this weekend BILL Carlson and his wife Susan started their Alaska trip in Fairbanks. All four of us got together to see some of the sights of Fairbanks before they left for Denali Park this morning. Bill and Susan live in Tempe, AZ and lead education groups for a couple of weeks every June to beautiful and interesting places in Mexico where they can learn practical Spanish. Their enterprise, Los Alumnos, has a website www.carlson-affiliates.com and email carlson-affiliates@icloud.com for contacting them. .
Say---Why not try visiting Alaska in winter; nothing like seeing the Aurora/Northern Lights above while soaking in the hot water lake at Chena Hot Springs!
Best wishes, Don

Don Gray posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 02, 2019 at 5:32 AM

Posted on: Aug 24, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Congratulations Julie & Paul! Looks like it was a great family holiday as well as your 50th.
Didn't realize how close our dates were. Last night we celebrated our 49th Anniversary here is Fairbanks. May see you soon. will e-mail.

Don & Carolyn

Don Gray posted a message.
Aug 06, 2019 at 10:06 AM

Hi Howard, and welcome back to the WHS Class of ‘66.
I can’t recall if we had any classes together nearly 60 years ago, but your name sounds vaguely familiar. Explore this website and you may rediscover old friends.
Don

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Posted: Dec 01, 2018 at 2:20 PM
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Posted: Jun 27, 2016 at 5:29 PM
Sawyer, grandson at age 8 (born Ground Hog Day 2008), playing chess with Grandpa Don as his brother, Cameron (left) gives advice.
Posted: Jun 27, 2016 at 5:28 PM
Cameron, grandson at age 8 (born Ground Hog Day 2008)
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
The Birthday Trio: Tony D., Bill T., and Don G. at 67
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
With my brother, Malcolm, and the twins, Cameron & Sawyer, last summer 2011 in Fairbanks
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Don, Carolyn and younger dtr. Julia (32)
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Carolyn & I beneath George Washington's Sword at the White House--Feb 2011
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Auntie Jo, my last aunt, before she passed away in 2010