Gerald J. “Jerry” Gray, 68, of Helena
HELENA, New York (WWNY) - Gerald J. “Jerry” Gray, 68, passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease on Monday, November 22, 2021, at his home embraced by the love of his wife and their family, whom he considered his greatest asset.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at St. Mary’s Church in Massena. Burial will follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Hogansburg immediately following the funeral services.
Friends and family may call Friday November 26, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Phillips Memorial Home, located at 64 Andrews Street in Massena, NY.
Born December 31, 1952, the son of the late Madeleine M. and John J. Gray, he was educated at Sacred Heart Elementary School and Holy Family High School in Massena, graduating in 1971. Having grown up in the family store, he continued working with his father until taking a job at the Massena terminal for Consolidated Railways (Conrail) in the mid-1970s and was employed there for 13 years. He then worked at the Potsdam Paper Mill for a time, followed by employment at Massena Memorial Hospital and as the steward for Knights of Columbus Council No. 1141. He eventually moved on to work for St. Lawrence County in the Health Department and then the Highway Department, from which he retired in 2014.
On May 30, 1980, he married the love of his life, Paula J. Derouchie, at St. Patrick’s Church in Hogansburg, NY, with Rev. Joseph Stickelmyer officiating. The couple immediately moved into the new home they built on the Deer River in Helena.
Easy going, humble and hardworking, with a quick sense of humor, Jerry spent many hours improving their home, gardening, landscaping, and enjoying his peaceful backyard and family life on the river. Honest to a fault and generous, he would often lend a helping hand to family and friends with numerous projects in his community.
He had a lifelong interest in local and national history, and was a founding member of the Helena Historical Society. Jerry spent many years working in the Helena Museum, especially during the museum’s annual Old Home Sunday event. His interest in the Civil War began at an early age when he found some battlefield relic bullets in his Christmas stocking. That blossomed into an impressive collection of Civil War artifacts that he assembled over many years. He also enjoyed woodworking, and collected antique tools at one time. Jerry enjoyed watching professional hockey and baseball, and he was a pretty good left fielder in his day.
Always one to give back, Jerry volunteered for many years on the Trinity Catholic School Board of Education, serving as president for a time. A lifelong communicant of St. Patrick’s, he was a lector there for a number of years. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Town of Brasher Board of Assessment Review.
Jerry is survived by Paula, his wife of 41 years; his daughter Stephanie and her husband, Justin Williams of Schenectady; four sons, Matt and Trisha Gray of Brasher, Nick Gray of Oswego, Andrew Gray and his fiancée, Niccee Harris of Helena, and Christopher Gray of Helena along with grandsons; Lucian Paul Gray, and Avery Williams, three brothers; John J. and Christine Gray of Colton, R. Shawn and Barbara Gray of Massena, and Joseph D. and Marcy Ashley Gray of Massena; a brother-in-law, Michael and Ginny Derouchie of Brasher; and two sisters-in-law, Noreen Bouchard and Jeff Covell of Parishville, and Valerie and Neal Kellar of Adams along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Catholic School; 188 Main Street Massena, NY 13662.
Jerry’s family would like to thank Father Mark Reilly, the doctors, nurses and staff at Massena Hospital, and First Responders from the Helena Volunteer Fire Department for their kind and generous assistance in some very difficult times.
Online condolence, memories and pictures may be shared with the family by visiting www.PhillipsMemorial.com
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