Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sally Gray will be missed...

Sally Govers Gray passed away on 5 April 2010.
It was an unexpected loss.
It is always sad to report the loss of a friend... especially someone so humble, funny, friendly and gracious as bass player Tom Gray's wife, Sally.

If you knew Tom, you also knew his wife, Sally. You rarely saw one without the other. If ever there was a couple who truly enjoyed being together, it was Tom and Sally Gray. Sally was not just a musicians's wife. She was very active behind the scenes for many years. Among Sally's many contributions to bluegrass music she was the editor of Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine in the early 1960s. Sally, along with Nancy Duffey (wife of mandolin player John Duffey), was part of the 'glue' that held the Seldom Scene band together for decades. Sally & Nancy were the dedicated merchandise saleswomen and road managers for The Scene. It was not unusual to see Sally hastily selling Seldom Scene T-shirts out of the back of the car at the end of a show, as the boys changed their shirts and prepared to drive off to the next festival as quickly as they could.

Sally made literally hundreds of friends on the European continent as she toured with Tom through the years. She especially loved spending time with the music fans here. Her last trip to Europe was in May/June 2009 as Tom toured with JB's Band. Sally told me that particular trip was "so precious" to her. She was so grateful to be able to make the trip, meeting old and new friends.

Sally Gray was a fine human being, and as gentle a soul as one may ever have the pleasure of knowing. In closing, and with sincere thanks to bass player and family friend Missy Raines, we now offer Tom's open letter to you all:

Dear Friends,
Please excuse me for using this mass-communication media of email to tell my sad news.
Yesterday [Monday, 5 April 2010] I lost my wife Sally, my dear partner in life. She passed away in the operating room while they were trying to correct her heart problems. I won't go into the bloody details of how it happened. As you probably know, she has suffered for years with a heart that sometimes would beat in strange rhythms. She has been hospitalized four times this year with congestive heart failure.
We had a very happy life together for 47 years. Sally is the inspiration for the wonderful sense of humor that our three children carry on today.
The funeral plans are now complete:
On Saturday, April 10 from 2:00 - 4:00pm EST, there will be a visitation at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901.
On Sunday, April 11 at 3:00pm EST, there will be a funeral service at Palisades Community Church, 5200 Cathedral Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016. A social gathering follows immediately in the hall downstairs from the sanctuary.
Interment will be at a private ceremony the next day at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Yours truly,
Tom Gray