Samuel Harris Gray Jr.

Born: Tue., May 16, 1933
Died: Thu., May 7, 2020


Funeral Service

2:00 PM Tue., May 12, 2020
Location: Honey Creek Woodlands


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Music by The Piano Brothers


Dr. Samuel H. Gray, 87, died on May 7, 2020. He was the eldest of three children born to Dr. & Mrs. Samuel Harold Gray of St. Louis, Missouri. He is predeceased in death by both parents as well as sister and brother. He attended undergraduate school at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to medical school at the University of Missouri. He then advanced to his surgical residency at Mt. Zion Medical Center in San Francisco where he received numerous honors and awards for his excellence in surgery. He was also lauded for his teaching skills, and teaching was one of his many passions. Following his surgical residency, he elected to take an additional year of training as an organ transplant fellow in Denver, under the world famous transplant surgeon, Dr. Carl Starzl. Together, they performed the very first kidney transplantation. Following that fellowship in 1971, he elected to open his general surgery office in Atlanta where he practiced at Shallowford, Northside and St. Joseph's hospitals. His passion for medicine guided his life. His skill, integrity, ethics and devotion to medicine were all exemplary.

   He was a fine writer, having contributed articles to Atlanta Medicine for some years. He was also an avid reader and member of many book clubs over the years. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Classical music. He had a deep emotional connection to music which both comforted and inspired him.

He met and married his present wife, Betty Petree Swims in 1975. Together they have 8 children, 15 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He adored his wife of 44 years.. His song for her was Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3.

He spent many meditative hours gardening at his home. Southwind, tending the rhododendrons, azaleas, and other special botanical specimens. He marveled at the beauty of nature; the design of a firefly or a leaf or dappled light as it danced through the forest among the flora. He was a Romantic, a dreamer and contemplative. At a party, one could often find him in a small room reading a book he'd found there. As extraordinary as he was a surgeon, that's how terrible he was as a driver. He would often find himself in a distant, unfamiliar location, as his mind wandered onto unrelated subjects. Most everyone was terrified to be in the car with him. When driving with the kids, he would often feel the need to point out a beautiful cloud formation, or a certain way the light reflected off the adjacent landscape, all the while unaware that he had wandered across the center divide and into oncoming traffic, or in the other direction... over the curb! It was felt that he would be safest in a dump truck or a tank. He was movie star handsome. People who met him immediately fell in love with him. He contributed abundantly in so many ways to the world around him. He was complimentary of others and looked for the best in everyone. He was comfortable conversing with a nuclear physicist or the guy in the tire shop. He was a beautiful spirit. He was a gentle soul. He will be missed.

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Condolence Booklet

Vicki Petree Cantrell
   Posted Fri May 08, 2020
We have great memories of Sambo. He was a good man. May he Rest In Peace.

Elaine Gibson
   Posted Sat May 09, 2020
I will remember Sam’s warm smile and generosity of spirit.

My heartfelt sympathy to Betty and all of the family. Even though I cannot be present at the funeral, know that I am with you in thought and spirit.

Sending you love,
Elaine

Janet Mainor
   Posted Mon May 11, 2020

Glorious Sunset was sent by The Link Counseling Center.

With Love, The Link Counseling Center


Brent Foss
   Posted Tue May 12, 2020
I had the pleasure of meeting Sam and Betty when I tagged along with my brother- in-law Winston, when he went to visit them one evening. We were going through town and Winston made sure we went to visit them. I was in awe of this man as soon as we met and felt a deep connection with few of the things we discussed. He was someone special and glad I had the opportunity to meet him. And Betty as well...what a sweetheart. Enjoy your next journey Sam.

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