Obituary of Don Phoenix Gray
Don Phoenix Gray passed away on December 9, 2018. Don was a deeply spiritual soul born in the Arizona desert in 1926. He was the 11th child of 13. His father was a contractor and when the depression struck, there was very little money for anything. The children learned how to make their own fun at a young age. They built most of their own toys from leftover scraps of wood and other discarded items. They enjoyed creating unique kites, gliders, self-propelled toy boats, and wooden cars. They invented their own games and enjoyed contests and debating.
As a teenager Don fell in love with skating and spent most of his free time at the skating rink. Later he enjoyed working there as a floor manager. In high school he was proud of being the only student to receive a reward for never missing a day of school, and for winning all of the hand launch glider competitions. He also enjoyed being undefeated, except by his brother, at Ping Pong, and started a life-long love of playing tennis.
During WWII he worked for the Weather Bureau at an Army Air Force Base in Santa Maria, CA, where his job was releasing weather balloons. He then attended college to attain a teaching degree. He held an AA, BA, and an MA.
He met his wife, Pat, at the Methodist Church. This year they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary. Both of them enjoyed teaching in Arizona and later moved to San Diego where he was a teacher, coach, and head counselor at Hale, Marston, Twain, Stevenson, Farnum, and Field schools. They had three daughters and one granddaughter. They enjoyed traveling every summer, visiting many National Parks and museums. He was a square dancer, a member of the Masons, the Shrine, and the Good Sam Club. Don was one of the last charter members of the Clairemont Christian Fellowship United Methodist Church. He also learned to love Yoga and meditation. He loved to read, especially about unsolved mysteries and religion. He was often quiet, but was full of wisdom and thoughtful advice for anyone who was willing to listen. He especially enjoyed playing his harmonica at the Methodist Church. His favorite song was Silent Night.
A memorial service will be held at the Clairemont Christian Fellowship United Methodist Church on Monday, 12-17-2018, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a reception at the church and a graveside ceremony at Mt. Hope at 1:45.