Home Editor's Forward Keabog Common Ground Maps Mackie Academy Sitemap

Ronald Gordon Gray

Ronald Gordon Gray
Aged 60

The last of the Keabog Grays, Ron, the sixteenth child, was born in 1902, the year the Boer War ended. Like the others he attended Glenbervie school and Mackie Academy leaving there at the age of 15 to be a clerk in the Net Factory of Stuart and Jack Ltd in Stonehaven, a firm which supplied ropes, nets and the like for the local fishing industry. From there he seems to have moved to the Stonehaven Auction Company where he was cashier. That he was unable to undertake any training for a career or to go further afield for work was due to the fact that he was needed at home - by then Oak Villa in Stonehaven - to help his Father who had become largely incapacitated and required lifting. After his Father's death in 1924 he moved with his Mother and sister Ada to London.

His widow, Bobbie writes:

I first met Ron in 1928 a year or so after his move to London. We met through the Dale Park Cycling Club where we were both members. We began on single bicycles but graduated to a tandem and finally ended up with a motor cycle combination. We used to take part in rides to the coast and followed the annual old crocks' motor car race from London to Brighton. Ron on one occasion also cycled with a friend to Scotland and back.

At the time Ron was earning a living playing his violin in an orchestra in a cinema at Thornton Heath in the days of the silent films but shortly afterwards he became unemployed with the advent of the 'Talkies'. He then obtained employment with a local radio and television firm.

We were married in 1936 and rented a flat in West Norwood, not far from his brother Gordon.

Ron's great ambition had always been to be an engineer and his big chance came when the Second World War broke out and the Government's training scheme for engineers came into force and he was accepted as a trainee. On completion of his training he obtained employment as an instrument mechanic with a firm making munitions and when these were no longer required he joined a firm manufacturing general office equipment and later computers. He retired in 1967 at the age of 65 but took a little while to become used to the enforced inactivity. To begin with he missed playing for the firm's bowling club but later joined the local club and had some very enjoyable times there.

Ron's great love was music and he spent much of his time in his youth in Scotland playing his violin in local concerts and operettas; he seems to have been fond of Gilbert and Sullivan in particular. However, once he stopped playing for a living in London, he never played the violin again. Nevertheless, he did listen to music every day on radio and television and to his large collection of records and cassettes until, sadly, in 1986 he developed depression and from then onwards he lost interest in absolutely everything apart from a brief spell about two years later when he did begin to read again.

At the end of 1992 he fell and broke his leg which meant a stay in hospital. The broken leg mended quickly but complications set in and his general health deteriorated; he was finally discharged from hospital in February 1993. In the meantime I had had a stroke and had fallen and broken a leg, so the hospital insisted that I should not have him home but that he should go to a Nursing Home until I could cope with him again. I reluctantly had to agree. In the meantime, I found out that he had Parkinson's disease and in May he passed away. His end was very peaceful and he just seemed to go to sleep.

Ian Gray, a nephew, adds:

Like most of the Uncles I remember, he was good fun and had the infectious Gray laugh - in his case, sharp and staccato. He was also one of the shorter brothers - short and stocky - with a shock of upright hair. I shall always be sorry that I did not know him - and Bobbie - better, especially in his later years when I came to live not very far away. He was 91 and both the youngest and the longest lived of the Keabog Grays.