Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Walter P. Gray III, R.I.P.

From: Sonia Windtberg

I am deeply saddened to forward the attached message from Mary Helmich (Associate Park and Recreation Specialist in the Interpretation Division) about the passing of her husband Walter Gray. Walter was our Chief of the Archeology, History and Museums Division. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hire him back to State Parks after a hiatus as the State Archivist. Prior to that, he was the Director of the California State Railroad Museum.

Walter had an incredible understanding of the State Park system and its cultural resources and was a true visionary. We are lucky to have had the honor to work with him and will miss him terribly.

It is difficult to bring this news to you today that your friend and associate, and my husband and companion for nearly 28½ years, Walter P. Gray III, has passed on today, May 8, 2007.

Fittingly, it is the anniversary of the originally planned Gold Spike Day, marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. I think Walt planned that.

He loved life and enjoyed people. His interests were encyclopedic. Walt was the kind of man that never met anyone he did not like and could find common ground in conversation on about any topic.

There will be a celebration of his life at the California State Railroad Museum. Information on that will be forthcoming.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, kindness and support. Walter and I really appreciated all that you have done this past year.

We are all better for having had Walter in our lives.