Basil Parkhurst Gray

Basil Parkhurst Gray

Basil Parkhurst Gray

August 1, 1917-May 20, 2008

Basil Parkhurst Gray, 90, passed away on May 20, 2008, while in hospice care at Waterford Three Fountains.

Basil was born August 1, 1917, as an only child of Frank Lawrence Gray and Elizabeth Huntington Gildersleeve, in Medford, Mass.

He graduated from Newton High School, in Newton, Mass., then attended Heidelberg University in 1937, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he graduated with honors in 1939 as a Chemical Engineer. In his career as a research chemist and inventor he specialized in research and development of protective coatings and sealants for industrial materials, and had several patents for steel and concrete sealants, and plastic polymers. He was in on the early development of the "hula hoop," and created one of the first materials for non-skid shoe soles. He was Vice President of Petrochem Research Corp., in Carmel, Calif., and President of Pacific Coatings, Inc., in Seattle, Wash.

At age 59, he retired (after in his words "...a career of smokes and smells and smog of big city industrials") to 30 years of new pursuits in teaching and writing. He spent many years in the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the International Executive Service Corp.

He loved to travel all over the world and sample the cultures and food everywhere. He authored several travel books which highlighted his wonderful sense of humor. "A Taste of Europe" is a comedic chronicle of his culinary adventures through country after country. In "Humor Me" he talks of his "funtastic" global travels. On a serious note he also wrote about his experiences in Heidelberg, Germany in 1937 and the pre-war Hitler.

The last several years of his life he battled with Alzheimer's Disease, his broad knowledge, expertise, and extraordinary talents slowly withdrawn from him. But his great sense of humor and his mischievous smile remained. His family and friends will remember him as creative, reflective, sensitive, and extremely bright, and multi-talented.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Hunter McAuley, of Medford, Ore., son; David Barry (Susan) Gray, of Medford, daughter; Carolyne Nancy (Edward Yeaw) Gray, of Tucson, Ariz., grandson; Rory Thomas Gray, Esq., of Roswell, N.M., and grandson; Senior Airman Tristan Barry Gray, currently serving in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq.

Memorial Services will be held at Fountain Plaza Medford, on Morrow Drive, at 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 23, 2008.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your local public library, in Basil's name.

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