Obituaries » Robert Hanes Gray, Jr.

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A service will be held on October 25, 2021, from 2-3pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church located at 710 Clay Street Lynchburg, VA 24504 with reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg, Johnson Health Center, and Centra Volunteer Services at LGH.

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Robert Hanes Gray, Jr. 83, of Lynchburg, Virginia passed away from a long illness on October 18, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.  He was the son of the late Robert Hanes Gray, Sr. and Lois Dinger Gray (Mimi), and the husband of Kate Gray for 54 years.

Rob was born on August 7,1938 in Lexington, VA. He attended The Lawrenceville School in Princeton New Jersey. At 18, Rob served his country as Military Police supporting intelligence operations in radio communications. In September 1962, he was deployed in support of the Federal protection program for James Meredith as the first black student admitted to University of Mississippi. This experience was one that largely influenced his life’s work to promote social justice and protect the vulnerable.

On the GI Bill, Rob was later awarded a BA in Philosophy at Yale University and followed his father into the legal profession earning a J.D. from Washington and Lee University.  As an attorney, Rob served throughout Central Virginia, primarily in Appomattox, where he had a law practice for over 30 years. He spent many hours on pro-bono work for the underrepresented and was committed to helping vulnerable communities receive fair representation, often by serving as interpreter for Spanish-speaking defendants and their families. As a substitute circuit judge serving Southeast and Central Virginia, Rob was known by his colleagues for his jurisprudence and fairness and was remembered by many who appeared before him for his belief in the restorative benefits of giving second chances. Rob was a member of the Virginia State Bar Association for more than 50 years.

After relocating to Lynchburg in 1993, Rob became an active volunteer in community theatre and the performing arts scene. His passion for the stage earned him leading roles in many plays, most notably those of Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Seagull. He and his wife Kate have been devoted supporters of local performing arts and cultural community organizations, especially those of the Academy Center of the Arts, Opera on the James, and the Dante Alighieri Society.

Rob also volunteered for many local humanitarian, medical, and educational organizations including Meals on Wheels, Lynchburg General Hospital, Lynchburg College and Centra. He served as board member for Johnson Health Center and Riverviews Artspace. Rob enjoyed being both student and teacher throughout in his life with an insatiable curiosity about culture and languages and a strong drive to mentor lawyers new to the profession.  He loved challenging medical students at the Lynchburg College School of PA Medicine as a Spanish-speaking patient in medical simulations and serving alongside his dear friend, Kern Lunsford as a Spanish interpreter for Centra.

Robert belonged to Holy Cross Catholic Church in Lynchburg and enjoyed his grandchildren, raising standard poodles, spoken languages, and brisk walks. He studied challenging languages such as Farsi and rode racing bikes.  As a father, Rob brought light, hope, and humor to the toughest of situations and was tremendous source of comfort, peace, inspiration and encouragement for his children, Robert III and Eliza.  He also had ongoing conversations with them about existentialism, law, politics and religion. While a teenager in the Bahamas, young Robert was a hospital aid, had interest in becoming a doctor, and played maracas in a local band.

In addition to his wife Kate, Rob is lovingly remembered by his children, son Robert, III and daughter Eliza; daughter-in law Carolyn Gray; grandchildren Laura, Anna, and Rebecca; sister Celie Rosenau; nephews William, John, and Edward Rosenau; dear friends Kern Lunsford, Alex Bell, Naomi Amos, Laura Dupuy; Dessi Dupuy his goddaughter.

Robert is predeceased by his father Robert Hanes Gray Sr., his mother Lois Dinger Gray and his brother-in-law David Rosenau.

A funeral service will be held on October 25, 2021 at 2:00pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church located at 710 Clay Street Lynchburg, VA 24504.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg, Johnson Health Center, and Centra Volunteer Services at LGH.

Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg is assisting the family.

 

Condolences & Tributes

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Posted by:
Su Flint

Posted on:
November 6, 2021

We all enjoyed working with Rob at the LGH ER. He was the embodiment of compassionate care, eternally kind, always looking to share an encouraging word or gesture of sincere caring. He treated everyone equally but had a special heart for the underserved and was invaluable to us on several occasions as a Spanish interpreter. Such a lovely, incredible man. He was a blessing to every life he touched.

Posted by:
Chad Valentine

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

Rob was one of the kindest gentleman I have ever known. I knew him as a volunteer at the LGH ER where he was the consummate patient advocate and friend to the staff. A remarkable man. He will be missed. My condolences to his family.

Posted by:
Kendra

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

Rob spoke often and fondly of his Poodles and I would banter back about my sweet Boxer pup Guinness (he's 11 now). Rob and I would chat of our dogs mishaps, Vet visits, agility training, and of course them taking up the bed at night. He loved to tell me about the saying three dog night going back years before amenities were common. Still to this day every time my dog cuddles up to the crook of my legs I think of that saying and fondly remember my friend Rob. Rob had a gentle, kind, soul. He will be so missed. He was a beacon of light to patients and staff alike. I am so very sorry for your loss and pray for comfort for your family.

Posted by:
Elder Kendra

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

It is with great sadness that I heardof the passing of Rob. I am a RN in the LGH Emergency Department and was blessed by Rob's servitude for years. He was so caring to patients and staff and had a gentle, kind, soul. Rob and I loved to chat about our dogs, he spoke often about his beloved poodles and I would banter back about my Boxer (Guinness). Every time I saw Rob he would ask me how Guinness was and genuinely cared. We would talk about our Vet and stories of our dogs getting into trouble and/or hurt. We would tell stories of our dogs taking up the bed at night and treating them like humans. He loved to mention that the old saying three dog night went back years and was about sleeping with your dogs at night to stay warm when common amenities weren't present. Often times now when I have my Boxer curled up at the crook of my legs I think of that saying and have fond memories of my friend Rob. He was a blessing to me, our patients, and everyone he met. He will be so missed, I am so sorry for your loss.

Posted by:
Elder Kendra

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Rob. I am a RN in the LGH Emergency Department and was blessed by Rob's servitude for years.

Posted by:
Victoria

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

Rob was always such a blessing. He called me Veronica and I called him Jose. He loved my baking and always wanted me to make him croissants. He was such a sweet spirit. He loved taking warm blankets to patients in the ED. I miss him and his fun spirit!

Posted by:
Victoria

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

Rob was always such a blessing. He called me Veronica and I called him Jose. He loved my baking and always wanted me to make him croissants. He was such a sweet spirit. He loved taking warm blankets to patients in the ED. I miss him and his fun spirit!

Posted by:
Krystan Harris

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

So saddened to hear this news but I know Rob is rejoicing in heaven! He was such a pleasure to have walking our halls in the ER and always willing to lend a hand! Such a special person and I will be forever greatful that I was able to meet him. He always spoke to everyone and genuinely cared for others! Love and prayers to him family.

Posted by:
Brittney Cash

Posted on:
November 3, 2021

Rob was always a bright light in the midst of chaotic emergency department shifts. He made it a point to get to know all of the ED staff and always asked me how my kids and I were doing. I can only imagine the tremendous loss this is for your family. Thank you for sharing him with us over the years.

Posted by:
Lynchburg Alumni Association

Posted on:
October 29, 2021

The Lynchburg Alumni Association expresses our sincere condolences to the family.

Posted by:
Helen Lawrence

Posted on:
October 25, 2021

My deepest sympathy for your loss of Rob. I had the pleasure of volunteering with Rob at Lynchburg General Hospital for several years and found him to be one of the finest people I have ever met. He had a good sense of humor and was so pleasant to be around. I know he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Posted by:
Barbara Williams

Posted on:
October 24, 2021

Expressing my deepest sympathy for your loss. I have so many fond memories Of Rob in the court room and on the stage.

Posted by:
Clifton and Dorothy Bundy Potter

Posted on:
October 23, 2021

Dear Kate, It was an honor and a pleasure to know Rob. When we were struggling to save the Academy of Music, it was always a comfort to know that we had a good lawyer in our corner. Time dulls the pain of loss, but memory keeps the good times, the happy times ever fresh. With sympathy, Bundy and Clif

Posted by:
Kimberley Jennings

Posted on:
October 21, 2021

My heartfelt condolences to you all during this difficult time. I pray that time and happy memories will provide you peace and comfort. Sincerely, Kim Meador Jennings

Posted by:
Lydia Langley

Posted on:
October 21, 2021

Dear Kate and Family, I am so sorry to learn of Rob's passing. I am sending love and wishes for peace for all of you. Lydia

Posted by:
Sherisa Lunsford

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

I remember Rob so fondly. I always cherished our chats and enjoyed just being around him. I could always tell that he was truly listening to what others had to say . He was a kind, warm & loving friend. He will be missed and loved always~~

Posted by:
Laura Long

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

Dear Kate and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your many happy memories bring you some comfort at this time. Laura

Posted by:
Jenna Chalk

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

In the short time I knew Mr. Gray, he always put a smile on my face. I am very saddened to hear of his passing. Praying for you all in this difficult time. Love, Dr. Chalk

Posted by:
jackie asbury

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

My deepest sympathy, Jackie

Posted by:
Henry & Linda Goode

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

Gray Family: Mr. Gray will missed by all with whom he came in contact with. May the many memories you have of him help you get through this difficult time. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by:
Anonymous

Posted on:
October 20, 2021

Mrs. Gray & Family, Please know all of you are in my sincere thoughts and prayers. Fondly remember Mr. Gray as a fair, yet stylish Lawyer in the courts of Appomattox. He always had a keen sense of humor. I can’t remember a time he’d be at the jail to see an inmate, that he didn’t make it a point to speak to those working, sharing some bit of knowledge, a joke, or to simply ask how we were doing. I’m sorry for your loss.

Posted by:
Arelia Langhorne

Posted on:
October 19, 2021

Fondly remembering Robert and sending condolences and prayers for your comfort and peace.

 

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