With the sudden passing of Mark Curtiss Gray at his Greeley home on December 4, 2022, the world lost a wonderful man who had inspired many through his musical talents, warm personality, and the twinkle in his eye. He was an eternal optimist, a man of deep and abiding faith, and a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother. At the time of his passing, he was 66 years old and lived in Greeley, his home for the past four years, after living in the St. Louis area for over thirty years.
Mark was born in Clarinda, Iowa and had many happy memories growing up in a family with three sisters. His father Gerald was a printer. His mother Rosalie was a homemaker and substitute teacher. His grandparents had a farm nearby and summer days were spent playing with his extended family of cousins.
These fond memories sustained Mark throughout his life. Whenever he would return to Iowa, he loved taking his family on a driving tour to see his family home, his old paper route, his first school, and the restaurant where his parents had met.
At a young age, Mark began to show signs of his artistic nature. Mark’s mother enrolled her son in piano lessons, a rite of passage for all her children. However, in Mark’s case, this did not work out well. He would start dutifully practicing his lesson but would soon get bored and burst into the only song he truly enjoyed playing – “Wipe Out” by the Safaris.
Piano lessons were soon forgotten after his father brought home a used acoustic guitar. For the rest of his life, a guitar would never be far from Mark’s side. He spent hours in his basement bedroom, which he had furnished himself with black lights and a water bed, and taught himself guitar, honing his skills by studying the records of Jim Croce, Bread, and, later, Doc Watson and other bluegrass musicians.
Mark’s life would be defined by his three great loves: his love of music, his love of family, and his love of Jesus.
With his beloved wife and life partner Kim, herself a gifted singer and musician, they formed a musical and spiritual partnership. It became their mission to use the power of music to spread God’s word as Worship Ministers at the Have Bible Will Travel Fellowship in St. Louis, Missouri. During their 18 years of worship ministry, many souls were inspired and uplifted by their praise team’s rousing renditions. This choir could really raise the roof!
Mark’s life was blessed by three children – daughters Kindra and Jenna and son Cayle. His children were the light of his life, and he loved doing goofy things with them. He collected turtles and built them a home in his yard. He made his children tostado dinners and barbecued pork steaks. He decorated the table for every holiday and on Valentine’s Day there would be candy, chocolate-covered strawberries, and cards for everyone. And when his children were undergoing times of trial, he would call and pray with them.
One of the greatest gifts Mark gave his children was his love of music. His daughters Kindra and Jenna both sang and played instruments and his son Cayle became an accomplished guitarist. When his children were young, Mark sang a song he had written for them called Baby Wolf In The Forest, and now Kindra and Jenna have passed that song down to his grandchildren.
Mark suffered great personal loss when his son Cayle passed away at age 21 from alcohol poisoning, a loss that forever left a scar on his heart. To honor his son’s memory, Mark started the Cayle Gray Scholarship Fund, which sponsored a benefit concert each year to fund scholarships for students attending faith-based colleges.
Mark loved to build things, whether a deck for the house or a chicken coop for his daughter. He loved to draw and doodle cartoon characters. He loved to barbecue and was known to man the grill in the rain. He also loved Star Trek: The Next Generation, Longhorn’s Steak House, the beauty of Colorado, and everything about Christmas.
Mark is predeceased by his parents Gerald and Rosalie and his son Cayle. He is survived by Kim, his devoted wife of 32 years, adored daughters Kindra Rice (Chris) and Jenna Gray, nine cherished grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Mark is also survived by his three sisters, Deborah Gray (Tom Morrisroe); Michelle Kohler (Gary); and Ericka Albrecht (Matt); and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.
His family is forever grateful for all the calls, cards, emails, texts and Facebook messages received after Mark’s passing. The family also sends heartfelt thanks to Pastor Pat and Vicky Rankin and the congregation of Have Bible Will Travel Fellowship; Erick DeMarco at Blugard Security, where Mark had been employed; and Dr. Carla Gabel and the staff of Front Porch Animal Clinic, where Kim currently works.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 AM on March 18 --Mark’s birthday -- at Northern Colorado Crematory, 700 8th St, Greeley, CO 80631.