Wayne Gray, 66, Whose Early Stomping Grounds Included Ontario & The West End

Wayne Gray, who like most of us led a life of mixed joy and sorrow, has at last found peace.
He passed away at 1:34 a.m. on April 13, 2022, from complications that ensued during his recovery from open heart surgery.
He was born in Pomona on June 8, 1955 to his mother Dorothy June Gray and his father Ira C. Gray.
As a child, he lived with his family, which included his older brother Gary and his three sisters Nancy, Sandy and Wanda, in the West End district of San Bernardino County. He attended Howard Elementary School and played baseball as a kid at West End Little League.A handsome youth and fine athlete, Wayne nevertheless fell under the shadow of his older brother Gary, who was a very fast runner who was given the ironic nickname of Turtle when he was in Miss Metzger’s sixth grade class and Wayne was in Miss Spencer’s Fourth Grade Class at Howard School.
When Wayne was a freshman at Ontario High School in the fall of 1969, his brother Gary, a junior, had distinguished himself, having earned the hard-fought honor of being quarterback of the varsity football team. Wayne participated in sports himself, partially emulating his brother. A member of Wayne’s class, Billie Taylor, known as “BT,” succeeded Gary Gray as the Jaguars’ quarterback. Wayne’s sister, Wanda, went out with and eventually married BT. Wayne thus held the unique distinction of having a brother and a brother-in-law who were respective big men on campus at Ontario High School.
Great misfortune befell Wayne and the entire Gray family in 1969. On Sunday May 11, 1969, which was Mother’s Day and less than a month before Wayne’s 14th birthday, his father, Ira, was riding a minibike when, in a mishap, he fell backwards from it and injured his spine, paralyzing himself from the waist down.
In recounting what had happened a few months later, Wayne would say, “Some Mother’s Day gift, huh?”
As he endured the pain of his father’s crippling injury and watched Ira being tortured with seeing his two fleet-of-foot sons doing so well what he could no longer do, Wayne grew embittered, and for a time grew mean and cruel as a result, developing a sharply ironic and sardonic sense of humor.
The beat went on, though, and Wayne eventually adjusted, making his way through school, becoming close to Theresa Deeming, two years behind him at Ontario High, who became his girlfriend.
Wayne graduated with the Ontario High School Class of 1973. He enlisted in the Marines, a risky move, as though the United States had signed a peace accommodation with regard to its involvement in the Vietnam War, the American withdrawal from that country was not fully effectuated until April 1975. He occasionally, when given a few days or a week of liberty, returned to Ontario, driving a beat-up 1949 pickup truck. Wayne served a full four-year hitch in the Marines, becoming a reliable, resourceful and responsible young man in the process, one with the discipline to master the skills of drafting and blueprinting and other refinements by which he could both decipher and create technical manuals.
Having picked up the nickname “Wagster,” he returned stateside.
Wayne remained physically active, vestiges of his youth and his time in the Marines, lifting weights, running and playing racketball. He had developed something of an affection for fishing, which he did to relax. Professionally, he became a technical writer employed by Northrup Gruman.
He met his first wife, Lisa. They had a daughter, Cami. That marriage ended in divorce.
On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1991, he met the woman, Bridget, who would become his second wife. They had two daughters, Haley and Hannah.
Wayne adored his family and the downtime he had with them. The Gray household included animals, including chickens and the family dog, Woofy.
Wayne’s two vices were the dice tables in Laughlin and Bud Light.
He is survived by his wife, Bridget, his daughters Haley and Hannah, and his sister Nancy.

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