Lawrence “Larry” Gray, 96, longtime Stewartville, MN resident, businessman and civil servant, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Sunday, September 19, 2021. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church with Rev. Kevin Connolly officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery with military honors by the Stewartville American Post #164.
Lawrence Hubert Gray was born on December 20, 1924, at Shanavon, Saskatchewan, Canada to Bernard and Cecelia (Fitzgerald) Gray, the fourth of five sons. In 1911 Larry’s parents left Rochester, MN, to homestead a parcel of land in Saskatchewan, where they farmed and raised their five sons. In 1936, at the height of the Great Depression, they returned to Rochester and in the fall of that year, moved to Stewartville.
Larry attended school in Stewartville, graduating from Stewartville HS in 1942. He was then employed at the Mayo Clinic in General Service until February of 1944 when he enlisted into the U.S. Navy. He served in the Pacific theater with U.S. Fleet Hospital #116 on Okinawa Island. Upon his discharge from the navy, he returned to Stewartville, graduated from Rochester Junior College, and received a degree in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota.
On June 12, 1948, Larry married Geraldine “Gerri” Griffin at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Stewartville. Larry and Gerri worked side-by-side in the family businesses throughout their marriage, celebrating their 73rd anniversary in 2021.
Larry was involved with the Griffin-Gray Funeral Home for the past 60 years: as an employee from 1948 – 1960 when Pat Griffin retired; as owner from 1960 – 1990, when Larry and Gerri sold the firm to their son Christopher. Larry and Gerri have continued their involvement with the firm throughout their retirement. They also owned and operated Griffin Furniture in downtown Stewartville until closing and selling the building in 1978.
Larry was a longtime active member of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, serving on various boards, with the Men’s Club, and on the committee to build the new church. Larry was also actively involved in many Stewartville organizations. He was a longtime member of the Stewartville Commercial Club (now Chamber of Commerce), Stewartville Jaycees, Lions Club, American Legion, and VFW.
Larry also served the City of Stewartville for 28 years: from 1969 - 1983 on the City Council and 12 years, 1985-1996, as mayor. Larry was a lifelong contributor to Stewartville’s civic life—promoting and supporting, with many others, numerous city projects, including Root River restoration, Florence and Bear Cave Parks, the Tebay Industrial Park, downtown redevelopment, the building of a new public library and the civic center.
Larry enjoyed gardening, numerous do-it-yourself projects, and following local and national politics. He was also an avid and long-suffering Minnesota Vikings and Gopher football fan.
The Gray family would like to thank the staff of Mayo Hospice for their care and support. The family suggests memorials to St. Bernard’s Cemetery.
Larry is survived by his wife Gerri; four daughters and three sons—Nora (Eric) Garland of La Crosse, Kevin (Susan) Gray of Stewartville, Mary Gray of Rochester, Christopher (Diane) Gray of Stewartville, Brian (Lynn) Gray of Forest Lake, Bridget Hermans of Stewartville, and Megan (Dan) Burick of Salt Lake City. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, Katherine (Shannon) Martin and Michael Steele; Kate (Arie) Kroeger-Gray and Karin Gray; Noah Gray; Cecelia, George, and Henry Gray; Hannah (Jake) Chambers and Lilli (Matt) Carlson; Connor, Olivia, and Rosemary Hermans; Emma and Tess Burick; and great-grandchildren, Cora Martin, Frances Jagodzinske, and Theo Chambers; his brother - Charles "Chuck" Gray of Edina,MN and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and 3 brothers - John, Don and Ralph Gray.
The times of visitation for family and friends will take place on Friday, September 24, from 11 AM to 2 PM at Griffin-Gray Funeral Home and from 5 PM to 8 PM at St. Bernard’s Church and at 10 AM at the church on Saturday morning. Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home, with assistance from Macken Funeral Home and Hindt Funeral Home.
Condolences and memories of Larry are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com. A livestream of the funeral service will be available at the Griffin-Gray Funeral Home website on Saturday.
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