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Clarence Lester Gray
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Obituary for Clarence Lester Gray

Clarence Lester Gray of Carrollton, Georgia, went home to be with Jesus on April 20, 2018, joining his bride of 74 years, Videria Jackson Gray, who preceded him in death just five months earlier. Mr. Gray was born on May 26, 1925, the son of Richard Clarence Gray and Tessa McBrayer Gray of Temple. He graduated from Temple High School in 1942, and during a return visit to the high school just before Christmas break, 1942, to see friends and to deliver several boxes of chocolate covered cherries, he met Videria, who received the last box. They began dating and married just six months later, on June 26, 1943. Just ten months later, the call of duty to serve his country, as WWII raged in Europe, separated the couple for two years.

Mr. Gray went through basic training at Camp Barkley, Texas, in April 1944, where he became part of the 112th Evacuation Hospital of the Army Medical Corps. He deployed to England from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey in May 1944. He was stationed in Chester, England for six months before shipping into France in December 1944. The 112th was attached to the 7th Army in France to support the drive into the Rhine River Valley and into the heart of Germany itself, which resulted in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Bavaria on April 29, 1945.
Mr. Gray visited the camp the next day and witnessed a disturbing scene that haunted him for years: bodies of hundreds of Jews and others, stacked like cordwood, and bulldozers pushing them into mass graves. Nothing he had trained for had prepared him for that total lack of compassion for human beings. Mr. Gray was stationed in Obersee, Germany when they received word, just one week later, that the Germans had surrendered.

Even though the war was over, Mr. Gray would remain in Germany as part of the 7th Army, who made up part of the occupation force of Germany. He was stationed at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany, to man the dispensary, during the time of the Nuremberg Trials. He made rounds with the doctor who cared for the Nazi prisoners and was able to witness the trials first-hand for about two weeks before he received word that he was going home. His ship sailed into New York harbor on his 21st birthday.

Throughout the years, Mr. Gray was interviewed about his war experience by several students of history at the University of West Georgia, twice by the Times-Georgian, and by his own daughter, an instructor of history who researched the history of the 112th Evacuation Hospital and preserved his story in a recorded interview in 2011.
Mr. Gray’s work career was spent working for the VA Hospital in Atlanta, as well as the Atlanta Post Office, in the years immediately following the war. Then he and his wife made the decision to move back to Carrollton to be closer to family, where Lester spent a number of years working for the Standard Coffee and Tea Company, as a milk producer for Carroll Creamery, then Atlanta Dairies, and in the final stage of his career, working as an insurance agent for Carroll County Farm Bureau, from where he retired in 1991.

He also served as a deacon at Abilene Baptist Church, and later West Carrollton Baptist Church, as well as a Sunday School teacher for many years. He and his wife later became members of Shady Grove Baptist Church.

Mr. Gray is survived by his three children: Melba Daniels of Carrollton, Roger Gray (Elaine) of Loganville, and Carol Lee of McDonough; seven grandchildren: Brett Daniels (Kate) of Woodstock, Brian Daniels (Jennifer) of Ball Ground, Daniel Gray of Atlanta, Taylor Gray of Woodstock, Cara Lee Funte (Josh) of McDonough, Christian Lee of Cleveland, GA, and Lora Lee of McDonough; six great-grandchildren: Lilly and Aaron Daniels of Woodstock, Brayden and Parker Weems of Ball Ground, and Grayson and Nolan Funte of McDonough; siblings: Ruth Tuggle of Bremen, Bob Gray (Betty) of Bremen, and Glen Gray (Helen) of Carrollton; and, a large number of nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his wife, his parents, and two sisters, Doris and Freda.

Services will be held at Shady Grove Baptist Church on Monday, April 23, at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Mike Harris officiating, followed by internment in the church cemetery.

The family will receive visitors Sunday, April 22, from 2:00-4:00 at Martin and Hightower Funeral Home in Carrollton.
Mr. Gray’s grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, family requests that memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimeer’s Association at http://act.alz.org

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.martin-hightower.com.

Martin & Hightower Heritage Chapel has charge of the arrangements.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Sunday

22

Apr

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Martin & Hightower Funeral Home

1312 South Park Street
Carrollton, GA 30117

Service

Monday

23

Apr

11:00 AM
Shady Grove Baptist Church

1293 Sand hill shady grove road
Carrollton, GA 30117

Cemetery Details

Location

Shady Grove Baptist Church Cemetery

1293 Sand Hill Shady Grove Road
Carrollton, GA 30117


Memorial Contribution

The Alzheimer's Association

225 N. Michigan Ave., FL. 17
Chicago, IL 60601
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