Date of Death:  January 17, 2022

Service Details

The family of Jack Gray will hold a memorial Celebration of Life and a final Open House for Jack who was a Realtor and long-time resident of Kalamazoo. Jack died at his home in January. He served as President of the 1968 senior class at Portage Northern High School. Throughout his life, Jack remained close with his family and many of his classmates as well as clients. Attendees are welcome to come in casual dress to Martell’s restaurant on Saturday, September 10, 2022, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Obituary Notice

Jack F. Gray, 71, passed away at his home in Kalamazoo on January 17, 2022.  His love of interacting with people led him to the perfect profession which was being a Realtor.  At the time of his death, Jack was employed at RE/MAX.  He was a member of the class of 1968 at Portage Northern High School and received a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree in Finance from Western Michigan University.  For a time, Jack was an adjunct professor teaching real estate classes at Western Michigan University.  He was a member of the Optimist Club and had received several awards from the Realtors Association.  Anyone who had the pleasure of having a piece of Jack’s homemade apple pie understood why he once won the Kalamazoo apple pie baking contest.  Fortunately, he handed down his recipe and baking skills to at least one family member.  Jack was preceded in death by Paul Gray (father) and Bill Gray (brother).  Survivors include Claire VanDyke Gray (mother), Steve Gray (brother), Suzy Gray (sister-in-law, widow of Bill Gray), nieces Jen (Pat) Kovalan and Sarah (Charlie) Firnsin, and nephews James (Kerry) Gray and Todd (Lydia) Gray.  Jack also leaves behind great nieces and nephews, cousins, colleagues, and a plethora of friends many of whom date back to early childhood.

Additional Information

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to American Heart Association or the humane society of your choice.

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37 Comments

  1. I met Jack in college. A friend met him in an apartment complex parking lot and invited him to come to a party I was at. Jack knew no one at the party, but of course that was no problem for Jack. He was instantly part of the group. I have a feeling he could fit in well in any group.
    I later ran into Jack when I wanted to buy a home. He was working at Perry Realtors at the time. He found us a home that was going to be listed by a co-worker of his. We were able to make an offer before it was even listed. I am still here 44 years later. He was good at making matches between people and homes!
    I think Jack could best be described as a darn good guy! I am happy to have known him!

    • Dear Lynn:
      What nice memories you have of Jack. There is a common thread that the family sees in these tributes, and it is that Jack could make friends so easlily. That made him perfect for being a Realtor. On behalf of the family, thank you for your comments.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  2. I grew up with Jack, we lived in a small neighborhood bounded by Milham Park and Gulf Course, I-94 and Loy Norrix High School. We spent many a summer in the park playing croquet in a clay court. Jack was one of the best players. We enjoyed many youthful adventures in the park and the creek that flowed through it. His smile will be missed.

    • Dear Vernon,
      Thanks for the tribute to Jack. I remember Jack & Bill telling stories about their days spent at Milham Park. I also remember them talking about playing croquet there. The family appreciates hearing from friends like you.
      Again thanks for the nice note.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  3. I am deeply saddened to learn of Jack’s passing. Jack and I first became friends during senior year in high school after I returned to Portage Northern from an AFS year in Belgium and had to try to integrate with a class I scarcely knew. Jack graciously befriended a somewhat lost soul. We stayed in touch during freshman year in college, he at Western and I nearby at K. In the summer of 1969 we traveled together to Europe, including a memorable stay with my Belgian family, where Jack charmed them as only he could do. In Amsterdam in late July 1969 I remember us gazing up at the moon in wonder as the Apollo 11 astronauts landed. The trip was a great adventure for the two of us. I am sorry to say that we did not stay in touch much thereafter, but I will always feel fortunate to have been Jack’s friend, if only for a short but memorable time. Sincere condolences to his family.

    • Dear Larry:
      Thank you for the lovely note. I do remember Jack taking that trip to Amsterdam. You are right that he could charm people like nobody else. Many thanks for your tribute.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  4. I have known Jack for many years . We went to school together and shared a friendship for over 50 years. He was always welcoming with his wonderful personality and great smile. He will be missed. Condolences to his family.

    • Dear Debbie:
      Jack had so many good friends from years ago, and you are one of them. We appreciate all these notes from his group of buddies. Thanks for the tribute.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  5. Did you know Jack was a part of a group of local residents that in 1970 started today’s Gryphon Place? Jack was always quick witted and knew what he was talking about. He cared about Kalamazoo and was a part of many community efforts! And, yes, he was a good friend to those he knew, like me. I will keep Jack in mind.

    • Dear Charles:
      We knew alot about Jack but are learning new details as we get notes from his friends. It is very comforting. So kind of you to send a response. Thank you very much.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  6. I didn’t know Jack personally, but he graduated with my mom Roxanne Husted. She was on the reunion committee with him and always had great things to say about him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  7. We were very sorry to hear of Jacks passing. We had know Jack for many years. He was lots of fun to be around and we always enjoyed his company. Our thoughts are with Claire and the family.

  8. We first met Jack 40+ years ago through our brother-in-law Gary Meyle who was a close childhood friend of Jack’s.
    Jack’s magnetic personality and charisma left a lasting impression. The handful of times that our paths crossed over the years were all very memorable and will not be forgotten. Till we meet again….

  9. In my life, there have been two truly superb bakers of apple pie–my mother and Jack Gray. Though I have made a few worthy of respect, I always have their pies in mind when I make the attempt. Probably always will. Thanks, Jack!

    To Jack’s family, so sorry for your loss. I met Jack 40 years ago in real estate–always a ready smile, fun to be around, easy to work with.

    • Dear Jared:
      We will all think of Jack every time we have a piece of apple pie, and I think he would be pleased at that. Thank you for your tribute to Jack.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  10. I’ve known Jack since the early 80’s primarily from us both being in real estate. Always smiling, happy, fun to talk to, and a pleasure to work with when working together on a sales transaction. A kind and eloquent person.
    Your passing is way too soon Jack.

  11. I remember Jack from junior high and high school. Always friendly and outgoing, he could make the mood better by walking into a room. It was no surprise that he became president of our class of 1968. Jack was one of those student leaders who helped form a positive identity for Portage Northern when it was a brand-new high school. As I look back, I will always appreciate his influence in those days, his acceptance and generosity toward everyone and his easy-going smile. In our adult life, he was as outgoing as ever, a welcoming presence at every reunion. We will surely miss him.

    • Dear Phyllis:
      On behalf of the family, thank you for your note. One of our favorite photos of Jack was the one he had on his Prudential business card.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  12. Dear Claire, Suzy, and Family,
    We were so sad to hear of Jack’s passing. Such a dear friend of my husband Gary since kindergarten and our Best Man. Loved to hear his voice and laugh when he would call us. Always calling Gary on his February 3rd birthday with his nickname, Gardart! So many wonderful memories of him over the years. Our thoughts are with you all as we share in the loss of such a good friend. Rest in peace, Jack.

    • Dear Gary & Shirley:
      Not sure I ever met you, but I certainly recognize your names as ones Jacked talked about as dear friends. We all have wonderful memories of Jack because of the great person that he was. Thanks for your note.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  13. Jack was my classmate and we shared the same homeroom for many years. He made us laugh and always attended our many class reunions which added entertainment to the gatherings. I believe I can speak for many in our graduating class that he will be missed.

    • Dear Vicky:
      We appreciate your note. Jack made everyone laugh and feel at home. Surely he will be missed by his classmates not to mention his family. We are all at such a loss.
      Suzy Gray & Family

  14. It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to you Jack. I will miss our phone calls and your amazing laugh.
    You were a good man, always kind and respectful and took such good care of your Mom for many years.
    I am sure you are already looking for real estate opportunities in heaven.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
    You will be missed my ‘hippie’ cousin.
    Love, Alice

    • Dear Arlene:
      We appreciate your note. The family knows what a great job Jack did taking care of Mom. We also know what good care she is getting at Bowman Place.
      Suzy Gray & Family

      • What a great smile on Jack’s face in the Gazette. It says a lot about the guy. I was a fellow 1968, Portage Northern classmate and I remember him as being one of those who got along with everyone and yes, smiled a lot. No wonder he was our Class President. You passed too soon, Jack!
        Mark Whitledge

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