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C. Edward Gray, co-founder of several truck lease financing companies, died March 14, 2023 with his family by his side. The Sanibel, Florida resident was 81 years old.
Known as Ed or Eddie, he was born in Franklin and grew up in Knox. He was the son of Knox residents George Harold Gray and Katherine May Say Gray.
Ed attended the White Memorial School, the Keystone Joint School and Keystone High School. In his senior year, he was cast in the school play, along with Fern resident Kay Jean Kenemuth. That began a love story that lasted for 64 years, until her death on September 15, 2022.
After high school, Ed enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed overseas on several destroyers. He was proud of his veteran status and was a member of the Tin Can Sailors.
Ed left the service and married Jean in 1963. He attended Clarion University and graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelors degree in business. He received his MBA from Lehigh University.
Ed entered the truck leasing business in the 1960s, first at Air Products and then Hubler Truck Rental in Allentown, Pa. In 1975, Ed accepted a job with the Lend Lease truck division at National Car Rental, moving his family to Edina, Minn.
Along with several business partners, Ed founded the truck financing firm Omega Financial Services, as well as Alpha Financial Services. He developed strong friendships with his partners that lasted long into retirement and his permanent move to Sanibel, Florida.
Ed was a devoted father and husband. He and Jean took memorable vacations to all 50 states, patronized the theater and traveled internationally. Home renovation in Minnesota and Florida was a constant hobby for them both and they loved attending their high school reunions. His daughters Chris and Cathy always had his time, support and his ear; that love later extended to his two sons-in-law, Don Faust and Tom Ardecki.
Besides his family, Ed had a passion for cars -- the faster, the better -- that started in childhood and lasted his entire life. He attended his first Indy 500 as a teenager, and always had a vintage car or sportscar -- or both -- in his garage. Speed limits were seen as suggestions, not rules.
On Sanibel, Ed took part in several charitable groups, and always took an active role in the Sanibel Lions Club annual Christmas tree sale. He rang bells for the Salvation Army and was a season ticket holder at Big Arts and the Florida Repertory Theater. He served as president of the board at Gulfside Place and loved the island passionately.
Throughout his life, Ed had a knack for making friends, whether it was at the racetrack or over beers, at the condo pool or on the golf course. He loved books and discussing current events; he read four newspapers a day. He felt that he had truly lived the American Dream.
Ed is survived by his daughters Christine Gray (Don Faust) of Yardley, PA and Catherine Gray Ardecki (Tom Ardecki) of Sewell, NJ., as well as his brother-in-law Dale Kenemuth (Marjorie) of Potomac, Md, and nine nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Kay Jean Kenemuth Gray, as well as his parents.
Family and friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, 2023 at the William N. Rupert Mortuary, Inc., 430 Mendenhall Ave., Knox.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25, 2023 at Fern Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church, 699 Golf Course Road, Knox.
Military Honors will be accorded at the graveside in the Fern Trinity EC Church Cemetery by the Berlin-Bowser American Legion Post #720 of Knox.
A Celebration of Life for both Ed and Jean Gray will be held on May 28, 2023 -- the date of Ed's beloved Indy 500 race -- in the greater Philadelphia area. Heineken will be served.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Fund, 3333 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.
Online condolences may be sent to Ed’s family at www.rupertfuneralhomes.com
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Fund
3333 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel FL 33957