Donald and Emily Gray
On November 10, 2017, Donald Dosson Gray, age 91, died peacefully at Queen of the Valley Hospital after sustaining injuries caused by an automobile accident. On November 11, his wife Emily Moise Gray, age 90, died peacefully from injuries she suffered in the same accident. Loving family members surrounded them at the times of their deaths.
Known as “Em and Don” they lived at The Meadows of Napa Valley since 2012. Emily and Don looked forward to lively conversations with their many friends over meals at The Meadows and were sustained by love from their family and friends.
Emily and Don met in the 1940s while students at Tulane University and Sophie Newcomb College. During their courtship, Emily rode on the handlebars of Don’s bicycle, and they were married in The Old Newcomb Chapel in New Orleans in 1949. They lived in New Orleans until 1960 then moved to Bethesda, Maryland, where they lived for 52 years.
Emily was a native of New Orleans and Don was captivated by her laughter, joy for life, and love of music and books. She loved the French language, travel, and her work as the Executive Director of the Biophysical Society in Washington, DC. The society’s Emily M. Gray award was established in her honor in 1997. Like Don, Emily was a lifelong learner and a voracious reader whose intellect remained lively through her last hours.
A child of the Depression, Don was born in Kansas City in 1926. A strong student of math at Tulane, Don worked as an executive at IBM where he developed a life-long habit of wearing white shirts and ties. Although Don’s outward formality reflected a keen intellect and a penchant for order, his family and friends will remember him most as a devoted husband and a deeply generous man who gained joy by helping others. Don was proud to serve in the United States Navy during the Korean War. His death on the observance of Veterans Day is fitting.
Emily and Don Gray are survived by three daughters, Adele Cotter of Napa, CA; Anne Semmler of Cranberry Township, PA; and Betsy Kelly of Belmont, MA; six grandchildren, Emily, David, Jackie, Stephen, Glenn, and Keith; and two great-grandchildren, Collin and Gray. They will be laid to rest in the Moise family crypt in Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Napa County library, 580 Coombs Street, Napa, CA 94559.