Cover photo for Charles A. Gray's Obituary
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Charles A. Gray

December 5, 1947 — February 18, 2023

Charles A. Gray

Charles Gray departed this earthly life from home with his family by his side. Charles grew up working on the family ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma and had many happy memories of friends, cars, playing football and had a special relationship with his grandfather. At an early age, he realized that a life of building fences, working cattle and endless pastures were not his calling so he went to college with an incentive to never return to ranching. Charles graduated from the University of Oklahoma in the early 70s and began a career in public accounting. Early on, he and a friend started their own firm, which ultimately merged with an international public accounting firm. His intellectual curiosity led him to constantly explore and master new industries and accounting concepts while building a thriving and diverse portfolio of clients. His love of learning was contagious for those who worked with him and had the opportunity to benefit from his vast experience. He retired after 40 years of public accounting and returned to school earning his MBA and doctorate in accounting, thus beginning a new career. As a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, Charles enjoyed challenging and mentoring students, many who went on to successful accounting careers of their own. He had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Charles battled Alport Syndrome, a rare, hereditary genetic condition that caused his kidney failure. He was blessed with a kidney transplant in 1981 and began riding a stationary bicycle to regain his strength. A few years later, he completed the Hawaiian Ironman, the first of six such races. He was an accomplished athlete; he ran marathons, competed in triathlons, rode century bicycle events, and participated in many other fitness activities. Despite a healthy lifestyle, Charles endured countless surgeries, multiple cancers and seemingly never-ending medical challenges. He never gave up. He was an inspiration to many, showing that with the right mindset and determination, anything is possible.Charles married Cynthia Furman (1970-1991) and they had four sons. He was a supportive and loving father and was especially proud of watching them become husbands and fathers. Charles adored his daughters-in-law and believed them to be the prettiest and nicest a man could have. His seven grandchildren were the lights of his life. In 1993, Charles married Jane Austin, who shared his love for cycling. Together they rode a tandem bike over 20k miles in competitions, tours and groups rides. They had an active social life and enjoyed volunteering their time and energy to help others. He felt fortunate that he found someone like Jane and told his family and friends every chance he got.Charles was a loyal and thoughtful friend. He looked forward to the weekly meetings of ROMEO (Really Old Men Eating Out), where there were lively discussions of politics, world affairs, technology, and other random topics. He enjoyed competition (especially winning), cars (especially his Tesla), family gatherings, food, dogs, Motown music and had his own flair for fashion.Charles was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. He was a man of strong faith and lived a life of love, service and forgiveness.Charles was predeceased by his parents, Clark and Edna, and his brother, Steven. He is survived by his wife, Jane, sons Paxton (Kylie), Zachery (Molly), Jacob (Virginia), and Gabriel (Elaina), and his grandchildren Andrew, Zoe, Adrian, Paxton Hays, Tatum, Cassity and Georgia.The family is forever grateful to Kimberly Williams for her invaluable support, surrounding Charles in love and compassionate care in his last year. Also, a heartfelt thank-you to the OKC Fire Department Station #2 for the late-night pick-ups and to Dr. Lorraine Wilson and everyone at the Coletta Cancer Center. Prayers and support from friends and family in his final days will never be forgotten.Charles loved his family and friends deeply and touched the lives of many people. He will truly be missed and never forgotten. Rest in peace.Charles was an enthusiastic supporter of many charities. In lieu of flowers, please consider gifts to one of these organizations or to a charity of your choice:Portland Avenue Baptist Church, 1301 N Portland Avenue, OKC, OK 73107; note Whiz Kids Fund in the memo section, or Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, PO Box 270968, OKC, OK 73137
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Thursday, February 23, 2023

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