Michael Andrew Gray, 71 of the Magnolia community, answered his final call Saturday afternoon, May 06, 2023 from his home where he was surrounded by his loving family. He was born June 15, 1951 in Gulfport, the youngest of three children to George Harrison, Sr. and Hilda Estelle (Sorrels) Gray. Though his mother called him "Sonny Boy", everyone else knew him as Mike. He grew up in the College Park area of Gulfport where he was always into something. Sometimes it was trouble, but at others, Mike enjoyed riding his bike, playing with his army men, building forts and just about anything outdoors. He was forced to attend Anniston Elementary, Westside Jr. High, and finally Gulfport High, until he was allowed to drop out and go to work with his dad at Gray Electric. He did obtain his GED while working, and wound up at Ingall's for about three years. Mike had always wanted to be a firefighter and applied to the Gulfport Fire Department in the late 60s. Slots at the department were few and far between back then, but Mike persevered, working for his dad while he waited. Heck he even hung around the station as much as they would let him. Seven years later, a slot was finally offered to him. Mike joined the department in May 1976 and could not have been happier, serving and working his way up through the ranks. He became a Lieutenant in 1991, and was promoted to District Chief in 2001. Mike was so proud of his achievements as he dedicated his life to serving the citizens of Gulfport. He retired from GFD in September 2003 after twenty-seven years. But to say he was actually retired...not quite yet. He would spend another twelve years with the Wiggins Fire Department, eight years with the MS Forestry Commission, plus all the time with Wayne Farm & Garden, Dauro's Florist, and Academy Sports. He met Ann in 1976 and they were married just a few months later, making their home in Gulfport. In 2000, they opted for "the country" life in Western Stone county, calling it home for the past twenty-three years. Now Mike wasn't one to sit still obviously, always working or staying busy with something. He had a more than vivid sense of humor and loved pulling pranks, which he did quite often. If you knew him, you were likely caught up in a few of them along the way. When he had some spare time, Mike enjoyed eating Lay's potato chips, visiting his brother, going to the mountains, and would even go to the beach, but only because Ann wanted to. He was definitely a loving son, husband, father, and uncle, but his proudest title was "Poppa" for his grandkids. Mike will be forever missed by all who knew and loved him. He was preceded in death by his parents, George, Sr. and Hilda Gray, and his sister Kathleen Spiers. Left to cherish his memories are: his loving wife of forty-seven years, Ann Rolison Gray; their daughter, Bobbi "Missy" Cooley of Perk; and his brother, George "Buzz" (Peggy) Gray, Jr. of Fayetteville, AR. He leaves a legacy of three grandchildren: McKinleigh, McKade, and Myleigh Cooley, with one great-granddaughter, Makyleigh Cooley, along with numeorus extended family members, including his fire service family and countless friends. Mike's final wishes were to be cremated, which his family is honoring. Memorial Services are set for Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Trinity Funeral Services in McHenry. Visitation will begin at 10:00 AM, followed by a chapel service at 11:30 with Bro. Will Wall officiating. Afterward and in the days and months to come, the family will honor his wishes to be scattered in some of his favorite places. Trinity Funeral Services is honored to serve the Gray family in their time of need and asks that you remember them in your thoughts and prayers through the days ahead.
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