Ronnie H. Gray, 67, Clarksville, TN, died on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at his home after a courageous battle against cancer. On March 25, 2019, after Ronnie’s doctor told him that there was nothing more that could be done for him, he said, “I’ll follow my Shepherd.”
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the chapel of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with Deacon Dominick Azzara officiating. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the church.
Ronnie was born on December 29, 1951, in Wasserlos, Germany, the second son of the late Calvin Gray Sr. and Ursula Konig Gray. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Cindy Karrigan Gray, and his brothers, Calvin Jr. (Jeannie) and Jerry Lee (Sharon). He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, many in-laws, and a number of non-relatives who called him “Uncle Ronnie.” He was the proud godfather of five children. He said that he was proud to say that he had ten sisters-in-law and he had the utmost respect for his brothers-in-law. His honorary pallbearer will be his nephew, Austin Hagar, whom he called “his boy.” Ronnie was a 1970 graduate of Clarksville High School, and he attended Austin Peay State University. He served his country for four years in the U.S. Army and in the National Guard. He was retired from the Trane Company after 38 years of service as a machinist.
Ronnie was a self-taught architect, craftsman, and carpenter. He said that he was proud to be a carpenter like Jesus, whom Ronnie saw as the best role model. Ronnie renovated an old farmhouse and a three-room dilapidated schoolhouse. The schoolhouse emerged as a marvel. Students who had attended school in the building sometimes stopped by with their children and asked for a tour. Cindy and Ronnie always graciously consented. Ronnie also enjoyed growing flowers. He once took a two-acre tract of land and turned it into an “enchanted forest.”
In the time before his death, Ronnie reflected on his life. He wanted people to remember him as a simple man with a loving, forgiving, and giving heart. He was a listener rather than a talker. He never took life too seriously because he believed that he was just passing through to a better place. Ronnie always believed in giving people second chances. He reflected that he had not lived a perfect life, but he was proud of the life that he had lived. At the beginning of 2019, he adopted the word “beautiful” as his word for the year, and he wanted those he knew and loved to have beautiful lives.
Cindy and the family would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Robert Kasper, Dr. Travis Osterman, Dr. Shastine Tangilag, the Vanderbilt Cancer Clinic, Signature Healthcare, and Avalon Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to the following: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 709 Franklin Street, Clarksville, Tennessee 37040; or The Nashville Rescue Mission, 639 Lafayette St., Nashville, Tennessee 37203.
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