Zane Gray, 86, passed away peacefully April 18, shortly after suffering a heart attack. He was born in Oil Trough, AR on April 9, 1926 to Ernest and Etta Gray. His greatest gifts were his giving spirit, affection for the land, love for the Gospel and commitment, love and generosity for his family.
He served in active duty in the United States Army during World War II in Germany from 1944 through 1946 as a member of the Fighting 69th Infantry.
He was a long-time business owner in Tuckerman, AR, owning gas stations then an auto repair shop and wrecker service. While attending the Tuckerman Church of Christ he made the decision to become a full-time minister and moved to Piggott, AR in 1974 to pursue that calling for the Westside Church of Christ. In 1977, he moved to Paragould, AR to preach for the 7th & Main Church of Christ until 1986, now the Village Creek Church of Christ where he served as an elder. In 1986 he founded and served as President and CEO of Arkansas Apartment Builders, specializing in multi-family dwellings but also contracting many single residence homes throughout the State.
He was a long-time member of the Paragould Happy Trails Riding Club and earned his 15-year belt buckle for the Cross County Trail Ride in Eminence, MO.
Having been named after the famous Western author, Zane Grey, he developed a keen interest in the author’s writings and life and became an avid reader and collector of the books. He also became an active member of the Zane Gray West Society and for many years traveled across the country to historical sites to attend the annual convention.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Zelma; three children, Janie (Kenny) White of Maplevale, AR, Gary (Pam) Gray of Little Rock and Susie (Bill) Ellwood of McLean, VA; six grandchildren, Erica (Robert) Jensen of Siloam Springs, AR, Denise Pearson of Jacksonville, AR, Philip (Lindsey) Gray of Little Rock, Casey Miles of Lansing, MI, Brittany (Kevin) Smith of Little Rock and Grayson Miles of Chicago, IL; six great-grandchildren, Darby and Shelby Jensen; Devin, Cedric and Granger Pearson; Braden Smith. He is also survived by one sister, Neva (Ed) Holt of Newport, AR and one brother, Jack Gray of Fort Worth, TX. He is preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Joan Rooks.
Visitation will be this Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Mitchell Funeral Home, 2307 W. Kingshighway, Paragould, AR 72450. Services will be held at the funeral home on Saturday at 10 AM. A graveside service and burial will take place at Maple Springs Cemetery, between Oil Trough and Rosie on Highway 14 (4225 Newport Road, Rosie, AR) at 2:00 PM.
Online guestbook: www.mitchellfuneralhomes.com