In Loving Memory of Mr. Gray


Daniel Franchetti, Editor

I feel a bit sad that I was unable to attend the ceremonies for the late Mr. Gray over the summer with COVID and all. But I wish to publish my experiences with him and remarks I should have given over the summer that are now long overdue as a form of closure and posterity. His plaque and prayer are near the Green Tile Area, but he deserves a lab, perhaps the physics lab, named in his honor for all his work. 

My first encounter with Mr. Gray went further back than Hendricken even. If my memory serves, I met him at Science Olympiad back in my middle-school years. I do not explicitly remember anything about the encounter, but I do remember interacting with the Hendricken team that year. 

Fast forward a few years, and I was going to Hendricken for the science day for the incoming eighth-grade class. It was there where I officially met him while building catapults in room 107. Then he was my science teacher for the eighth-grade at Hendricken. It was a nice science class. It was not the strictest class and was moderately laid-back. Some of the formulas and information were vital for my later science classes and his class laid the foundation for the later classes. The most memorable parts of his class were watching Bill Nye explaining part of the curriculum and watching Mr. Gray play Minecraft if the lesson was over and a few minutes remained in class. The pinnacle of that year was during final exams. The eighth-grade was let out around the same time as seniors and had to take finals before the rest of the school. The majority of the finals were taken in his room, 208. After the exams for the day, some students would stay in his room until the day ended since he had no other classes for the day. Those were some of the best days. 

I did not have Mr. Gray again until sophomore year for a study during B period. That was the last class I would have with him. I am not sure if the administration realizes this, but there is a picture of the study on their main website page with me in it. Granted it is my shoulder and the Mr. Dungca is primarily in the photo. The study went as well as a study could go. He was very relaxed there too just as he had been for my science class. Unfortunately, COVID happened and the Thursday we left to not return for nearly six months I dropped his study as I can vividly remember being in period A history while the announcement to bring books home came on. Then Mr. Gray passed away on June 20, 2020. I cannot remember my last interaction with him barring a virtual conversation we had over the upcoming AP chemistry course I planned on taking under him this current year. 

Barring my two classes, I also participated in Science Olympiad and frequented the board game design club meetings for the entirety of my Hendricken career thus far. One of the most important aspects that I think is little known is that he was a ferroequinologist. A ferroequinologist is a fancy and endearing term for those interested in steam engines (literally “iron horse study”). He had a passion for trains that I had never seen before and do not see now after his passing. He and I shared a common and rare interest in steam locomotives that I have never seen before. I found this out when I was drawing during one of his classes in eighth grade and he remarked at the trains I was drawing. This inspired me to begin working in train articles for the newspaper, begin drawing trains and then drawing more generally, and inspired me to continue writing out fictional train-based stories that I continue on today. I never received an opinion on his favorite train type and such as he mentioned the British Rainhill Trials of the first viable locomotives as well as American made locomotives. I remember that when I was in his study, we would have small talk about the subject. That year, in fact, was the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad as well as the restoration of the Big Boy locomotive of the Union Pacific. Mr. Gray’s passion for trains has profoundly changed my hobbies and that is the thing I will miss the most about him. 

Mr. Gray’s passing was quite untimely. I was away when the news broke and returned to see chat groups with messages about his death. I was truly just in shock until I returned to the school for me to absorb that he was gone. I do not look back with regret on anything though. We always got along and to say “there was not enough time” is useless. Sowhile I mourn his death, I am not saddened by regrets. I pray that his soul has been rejoined with those he loved who went before him.  I hope that he is watching his former students and, as he would say, “happy to see [their] smiling faces”. Mr. Gray, we will miss you. I will miss you. May you rest in peace with the angels in Heaven.