Robert Lee Gray was born on December 18, 1968, in Orange County, CA into a family that would grow to 8. His parents, Billy and Marie, along with his older brother Billy Jr, younger brothers Loren, Doug and Michael, and sister Cathy shared a home in Siler City.
From an early age, Robert's future talents started to show themselves clearly. He was always a strong young man and excelled in all manner of sports. And this also brought out his competitiveness. He loved to compete and push himself to be the best that he could be. And he would do this in any manner of sport: baseball, softball, basketball and cornhole. If there was a sport, Robert would play it and love the competition. One of Robert's favorite pastimes was when he played in church softball league, and it was there - seeing Christianity throughout his teammates that led him to being saved.
This also showed itself in his relationships to his sister and brothers. He was extremely protective of them. In fact, each time he and his siblings would go out on a Saturday night, as they headed out the door, his father Billy would say "take care of everybody while you're out Robert." And he did.
As Robert reached adulthood, this protectiveness that had been part of his character again showed itself in his desire to serve others: He wanted to go into law enforcement. And it was a natural fit for him, playing to his physical strength as well as his protectiveness of others.
Robert attended Basic Law Enforcement Training. Upon graduation, he became a deputy in Chatham County and also spent time as an officer with the Pittsboro Police Department. He spent the next 20 years in law enforcement and excelled in it. This is a tough job and requires a lot of balance and understanding with the community at large. It wasn't uncommon for Robert to form relationships with those who had crossed his path.
During this time, Robert also bore two children; a daughter, Felicity, and a son, Jackson. They were the apple of Robert's eye and allowed him to do what he'd prepared for his whole life: protector. Felicity was Robert's first born, and quickly became a "daddy's girl." The two developed a special bond, and Robert was very proud of the young lady that Felicity has become. As his father before him, Jackson excelled at sports. Particularly baseball. And Robert was right there with him. Training, watching, critiquing. Protecting.
Robert also, towards the end of his life, settled into a great relationship with Dee Marshall, and was there for her as she raised her own daughter, Claire. He protected Claire as if she were his own and treated her no differently from his own. Robert, true to his character, became a strong, and dependable father figure for Claire.
As we look at Roberts life in whole, it becomes very apparent what was most important to him throughout his life. Protecting and doing for others. From protecting his siblings while he was growing up, to the community in his law enforcement career, and most importantly, his family. This was Robert's strength, what he excelled at - protecting those he loved.
Job well done Robert. Rest in peace.
Robert was currently employed with the Chatham County Bridge Crew of the NC DOT.
Robert was preceded in death by his father, William Henry Gray and brother, George Michael Gray He is survived by his significant other Dee Marshall; daughters, Felicity Faith Gray and Claire Elizabeth Brady; son, Jackson Cole Gray; mother, Lorene Marie Gray; sister, Cathy Gray; brother, Billy, Jr, Loren and Doug Gray.
A private service will be held for the family and a Memorial service to celebrate Robert's life will be held at a later date.