Melvin Grey, 1920 ~ 2011

Melvin James Grey (Mel), 90 years old, made his final trip around the bases to “home plate” on Tuesday morning, Jan. 25, 2011, in Ogden, Utah. That home-run ball landed in heaven’s ballpark, where the rest of the team was waiting for him to play first base!

Many friends and family members have been waiting for years; others, not so long. And waiting in Heaven’s stands to welcome him home are his parents, Maggie and John Grey; and seven brothers and sisters, Walter, Freeda, Mary, Helen, Clyde, Warren and Johnny.

Dad is survived by brother, Maurice, and sister, JoAnn, who are preparing to join the family reunion. A son-in-law and granddaughter have also preceded him in death.

Dad is survived by his wife of 71 years, LaVon Grey, who loves him dearly; four children, Bonnie Foremaster, Carolyn Grey, Melvin Grey and Debbie Grey.

He taught us how to play ball, showed us how to be good people and built a family tradition of chocolate-while-shopping as he indulged us with white “treasure” sacks from Sears, holding big blocks of yummy chocolate and orange slices.

His posterity includes 16 grandkids and 41 great grandkids, who loved cycle riding and four-wheeling with Grandpa, who also had time for picnics, teaching, teasing and sharing. He celebrated his 82nd birthday while on a 1,200-mile roundtrip with his son, going through Jackson Hole and Yellowstone – while riding his own Harley!

Dad was born July 9, 1920 in Brazil, Ind. He grew up there and joined the CCC camp (Civilian Conservation Corps) when he was 17 years old. He was sent to Panaca, Nev., all to the good fortune of his sweetheart, LaVon, whom he would marry in 1939.

He was scouted by a professional baseball team, but declined the offer because it would have meant leaving his new bride of that very day, as she would have been without his companionship and support as he trained in California. He loved showing off Mom’s beautiful artwork of crocheting and needlework.

People came to know Dad as a good and honest man, full of integrity, who stood up for right and honored his commitment to family and country. He was quick with a smile when he saw us kids and supported us with praise and encouragement when we did something great or needed a little (sometimes more) help to improve.

He had outstanding talent as an athlete and played on town baseball teams for years and was shown respect and admiration by former Lincoln County, Nev. schoolmates at the high school’s 100th anniversary in 2010.

He loved telling stories of his life, and one best of all, the story of his 80-yard kick-off return for a touchdown!

Dad was a paratrooper in WWII, worked in the mines in Pioche Nev., on the railroad in Caliente Nev., and the Nevada test site. He was a master mechanic for over 40 years, had his own shop, Grey’s Auto Repair, in Moab, Utah, and didn’t fully retire until 2002.

He taught auto mechanics for a time, incorporating respect for knowledge, self and others, which helped guide students. He served on Grand County’s School Board, loved to watch the news and sessions of the House and Senate, and baseball and more baseball! He loved fishing and fish were afraid of him!

Dad was ready to go, carrying a baseball, a fishing pole, a wrench and a heart full of love and a smooch for his sweetheart. Babe Ruth was Dad’s hero. Dad/Grandpa is ours!

A family viewing was held in Ogden, Utah on Thursday, Jan. 27. Graveside services were held Friday, Jan. 28. Interment was at the Panaca Cemetery in Nevada.