John J. Gray, 70 of Keystone, NE, passed away Saturday, January 15, 2022 at Ogallala Community Hospital.
He was born May 5, 1951 in Sunrise, Wyoming to Leroy Farrell Gray and Alyce Rose (Bussard) Gray. John graduated high school in 1969 in Trenton, Nebraska. After high school, John furthered his education with some years of college. He worked many jobs throughout his life with his favorite being the years he spent in the oil fields up in Montana and North Dakota. John enjoyed drilling water wells and servicing them. After 26 years, John decided to find a new job closer to home. John liked working for Haggard Drilling in Ogallala, then went to Paxton Well Service before he decided to go on his own for a bit. He put up new windmill towers for the local farmers and ranchers in his area. Before John entered retirement in 2016, he finished his days working as an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad.
John married Brenda Cross on April 19, 1974 in Mitchell Nebraska. To this union three children were born, Dale, Neil and Wendy.
One of John’s favorite moments in life was working with his sons, Dale and Neil, in the well service. John took pleasure in the outdoors and hunted often with several of his family members. One thing he didn’t enjoy was fishing, and his family knew it was because he didn’t have the patience for a fish to bite the hook. John appreciated the time he spent with his wife, his sister Janet, and Janet’s husband, Roger Skinner. You could catch this bunch gambling when they had the chance. Not only did he enjoy gambling, but if there was a card game ready to be played, John joined in. Teaching was one of John’s best attributes. He loved to teach his grandkids and many other kids about cars. He expressed the importance of every individual knowing how to change the oil or a tire so their cars would run forever. Sometimes late at night like 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., you would catch John and his grandson DJ making things on the metal lathe, which is where some of the best memories were made. John’s grandkids always gave him a hard time which they enjoyed, especially Briana and Cierra. This man loved his family and was known for being a man of few words. When John spoke, everyone knew he was sharing words of wisdom and to listen closely.
He is survived by his wife Brenda of 47 years, Keystone NE; sons; Dale Gray of Curtis NE, Neil Gray of Keystone NE, daughter Wendy Johnson of Kimball NE, sister Janet Skinner of Ogallala NE, brother Jeffory (Anna) Gray of Ogallala NE, father in law Raymond Cross of Scottsbluff NE, sister in laws; Rayleen (Carlin) VanVelson of Gering NE, Heidi (Rob) Kainard of Mitchell NE, brother in laws; Kirk Cross of Scottsbluff NE, Rick (Kamisha) Buckley of Scottsbluff, Dean Cress of Scottsbluff NE, grandchildren; Briana Gray of Kimball NE, Cierra and Dj Gray of Curtis NE, Ashley Gonzalez & Kelly Kinsinger of Lincoln NE, Ariel Gonzalez of Donna TX, Terrel Gray, Anthony Tovar, Dakota Wilson all of Kimball NE, great grandkids; Tatyana Gray of Kimball NE, Kollin & Kyson Kinsinger of Lincoln NE and Matthias Yanez of Donna TX. His buddy (dog) Goober, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceeded in death by his parents, sisters; Jeannie Gray and Judy Redinger; brother; James Gray, brother in laws; David Redinger and Roger Skinner, mother in law; Selma Vasa, nephews; Timothy Gray, Bruce Redinger, and Cody Gray and a niece Peggy Gray.
A celebration of life with the family will be at a later date.
Draucker Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.