Paul Gray Obituary (1953 – 2022) – Pleasant Hill, CA

Paul Eugene Gray
December 7, 1953 – January 2, 2022
Resident of Pleasant Hill, CA
Paul was the third and youngest son born to Edith Aloise Bachmann Gray and Jesse Floyd Gray Jr in Landstuhl, Germany. Paul lived in France the first year of his life and the next 8 years in Aberdeen, Maryland. He and his brothers, Forrest and Mike were very active outdoors and helped their father on their farm. When Paul was 9, he convinced his parents to take the boys to the Daytona 500. He never forgot that trip and it began his love affair with cars, Formula One and NASCAR racing. Drivers Niki Laude, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Jimmy Johnson were his favorites.
The family moved to Garden Grove, California, in 1963 where Paul made lifelong friends in school. He was an ace tennis player and a straight-A student. When Paul was 15, his father, a garage owner and mechanic, gave him a new 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger. He had loads of fun in that car and even bought and had restored another one in the 90s.
Paul graduated from Los Alamitos High School in 1971, he headed to UC Berkeley and never looked back. With college friends who became forever friends, he spent his spare time hiking the Sierras and playing intramural baseball. At one point he put a pinball machine in the lobby of the dorm, it was very popular with the students until the authorities had it removed. Paul also drove for Humphrey Go-Bart, the university’s free shuttle. A month-long trip to Mazatl├ín with friends was one of his favorite memories of his college years.
Paul lived briefly in Humboldt where he worked as a school bus driver. The kids called him Wolfman — he was strict, but fun, and the parents loved him! When he was working as a driver for a software company delivering computer reports in his early twenties, he asked to learn programming, and this led to a lifelong career as a computer programmer analyst.
Paul met the love of his life, Annie Nieman in 1985. They were engaged 100 days after meeting and married in 1986. They celebrated their 35th anniversary in August 2021. They had two children, Sam and Tessa.
Paul was an amazing, loving and supportive father to Sam and Tessa. He took them all over Northern California cheering for them at their swim meets. He took them to Yellowstone, Whistler, Hawaii, Grand Cayman, and Europe. He took them to sporting events and concerts, including his favorite band, the Allman Brothers Band. Paul was always there Sam and Tessa and encouraged for them to be true to themselves and be kind and caring individuals.
In 2002 Paul was able to take his family Germany to reconnect with his Bavarian relatives, including his Uncle Gunther and his family. Paul visited several times over the years working in trips to Rome, Paris and London. Those were some of the highlights of his adult life, as he grew to know and cherish his extended family and they would send him his favorite German beer, 1543, from time to time.
Paul had many interests, but his true passion was music; in particular, Southern Rock and Blues. His life was heavily influenced by the music of the 60’s and 70’s — the pursuit of peace, love and rock-and-roll. His favorite group was the Allman Brothers Band and their music was the soundtrack for his life. He formed a garage band with friends in the early 90’s and played regularly until he was too weak. Playing his beloved Gibson ES-335 with his band was one of the highlights and true loves of his life.
For 25 years Paul hosted an annual scramble style friend’s golf tournament. The tournament started as his bachelor’s party, and, as the years went on, it grew to 15 foursomes. The tournament was his way of showing people how much he loved them, and it was a blessing each year it occurred. He was fortunate enough to play some beautiful courses with friends and family in Nevada, California, the Caribbean, Canada, Hawaii and Europe. Paul made a few trips to Las Vegas with Annie every year. He loved playing craps at the Paris, eating delicious meals and drinking fine wine.
Paul saw Sandy Kofax pitch in Dodger Stadium as a child and was a Dodger fan for life. He was thrilled to see them win the World Series in 2020. He also fell in love with the Oakland A’s in college and stayed a fan forever. He held season tickets to the A’s and Cal Football for years. He followed the San Francisco 49ers and the Warriors, as well as pro golf and tennis.
Paul was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1, in 2019. He was a kind, positive, open and loving human being; he had a warm heart, a keen wit and a great sense of humor. He was a loving husband and father and a dear friend to many. He left us too soon and is missed every day.

View the online memorial for Paul Eugene Gray

Published by East Bay Times on Mar. 9, 2022.

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