Gilbert Edward Cray Jr. passed away on January 23, 2014 in Hampton, Virginia after a battle with cancer. He was 73 years old.
Gil was born on March 29, 1941 in Erie, PA to Maudie and Gilbert Cray Sr. After graduating McDowell High School in 1959, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served in the United States Air Force for 28 years. Gil was a professional jazz piano player for most of his life. While in the Air Force, he was based in Germany for three years, and on multiple bases around the United States. In 1973, Gil transferred to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. where became a member of the world renowned USAF jazz band: “The Airmen Of Note,” for nearly 15 years. During his time with “the Note”, Gil performed for presidents, world leaders, his fellow servicemen, and the public around the United States and overseas.
After his retirement from the Air Force, Gil continued to play jazz clubs around the D.C. area as well as teach multiple students the arts of Jazz piano. He also received his Associates Degree in Electronics. For the last few years of his life, Gil worked as a home health care aid for senior citizens and continued to teach piano in Fredericksburg, VA.
A Virginia resident since 1973, Gil is survived by his two sons, Scott Cray of Virginia Beach, and Robert Cray of Asheville NC, as well as their mother, Kathryn Kroll Cray of Fredericksburg, VA. Gil has eight grandchildren: Grant, Cora, Essene, Judayah, Sariyah, Amannah, Justus, and Iannah. He is also survived by his younger brother William Cray and his wife Nancy Taylor Cray of Erie, PA.
Gil’s music was a gift to his family, his country, and the world. His love of music was the driving force of his life. His musical legacy will live on through the Cray name for many generations to come.
An event to celebrate his Gil’s life will be held in late March in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. Please contact Scott Cray at firstname.lastname@example.org in early March for more information for exact date, time, and location. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be sent to the Palliative and Hospice Care Program at the Hampton, VA, Veterans Medical Center. Building 14, 100 Emancipation Drive Hampton, VA, 23667 757.722.9961 ext 2276.Send FlowersPlant a Tree