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Born: Mar 20, 1941

Date of Passing: Jan 12, 2020

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March 20, 1941 - January 12, 2020

Peacefully, at the age of 78 years, Father James William Gray passed away, surrounded by friends.
James was a devoted son to his late parents, William Fergusson Gray and Rachel Edith Poirier, and was predeceased by his dear sister Mary Ann (Gray) Lalonde.
He is survived by his brother-in-law Gérald Lalonde, nieces and nephews: Michelle (Pierre), Raymond (Angelika), Jacqueline and Pierre. Great-nieces and nephews: Simon, Michaela, Alex, Thomas, William, Sophia, Patrice (Anick), Martine (François) and extended family.
Father Jim graduated from Transcona Collegiate in 1958. He later enrolled at the University of Manitoba (St. Paul's College) and graduated with a psychology degree in 1968. Sensing a call to the priesthood, Jim went to seminary in Toronto and obtained his M. Div. from the Toronto School of Theology in 1972. He was called to Holy Orders by Archbishop Maurice Baudoux and ordained to the priesthood on June 30, 1972.
Prior to his calling to the church, a young James was the proud employee of VIA Rail and often spoke fondly of his years on the rails and of adventures to and from Churchill Manitoba. He loved train travel, enjoying the views that this unique mode of transportation provided.
Father Jim served as an assistant pastor for two years after his ordination. One year at St. Bernadette and the other at Christ the King. He was then made Pastor at Carman, MB and served the parishes of Morden and Elm Creek as well. While in Carman, Father Jim volunteered to be on the local Morden radio station as a DJ and often reminisced about helping out on the cattle farms along the Manitoba escarpment. He served these parishes until 1980. He was moved to the Winnipeg parish of Holy Cross where he served as pastor from 1980 until the late nineties. During this time he had a special place in his heart for serving the poor and he was instrumental in gathering the youth for activities such as music and floor hockey in the Holy Cross school gym.
Father Jim spent nearly the remainder of his earthly days serving the communities of Powerview-Pine Falls and Stead until 2018. During this time, he lived in the family cottage at Albert Beach and loved to feed and speak with all the animals that would visit his home, including his favourite deer Fala. Finally, he served weekend ministry in Grand Marais and Stead until his health declined.
Besides parish ministry, Father Jim served as the Diocesan Spiritual Director for the CWL, was the Diocesan Director of Catholic Schools, served as a Dean and worked on the College of Consultors with the Archbishop Albert LeGatt.
Father Jim had a profound love for nature and found God in it. He was known for his exceptional singing voice and for giving thought-provoking homilies that were down to earth and related to God's creation and our natural human friendships. He always had an open heart and an open home for the people of God. He cherished and adored every friendship and brought many souls to a deeper understanding of God's love.
Many thanks to the staff at both the Selkirk Hospital and Red River Place Personal Care Home, where James resided for his final year. Thanks go out as well to James' many dear friends who made living in care much more bearable with outings and visits, and those who accompanied him for doctor appointments and treatments. He was well surrounded and well loved by so many.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice or consider donating blood at Canadian Blood Services. Family and friends thank those who donate, as we were able to enjoy James' company for an extra year thanks to their thoughtfulness.
Never wavering from his faith, may God welcome James with open arms, saying ''Well done, good and faithful servant''.
Prayers will be said on Friday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m., at St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church, 505 Brewster Street, Winnipeg, MB.
Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday, February 8, with Eulogies at 10:00 a.m. and Mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. Boniface Cathedral, 180 Avenue de la Cathédrale, Winnipeg, MB.

& CREMATORIUM, Beausejour
(204) 268-3510 or MB Toll Free 1-877-776-2220

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 18, 2020

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • Fr. Jim was great priest and a caring passionate person who saw the good in all his surroundings and his biggest achievement while in Carman as far as I am concerned was developing a great trust and friendship with many fringe Catholics. R.I.P. - Posted by: John Warnke ( parishoner) on: Feb 09, 2020

  • I met Jim Gray upon walking into St. Paul's College, University of Manitoba in late Aug or early Sept 1962. I was overwhelmed and lost. I grew up in rural Manitoba without any exposure to an academic setting and very small class sizes. Jim was assisting with student orientation and registration. He helped me to register for three classes at St. Paul's and two honors science classes on the main campus. This was the beginning of a trusting, caring relationship. He invited me to share a locker. He ensured that this rural, shy, country lad met and socialized with other students at St. Paul's. Jim ensured that I survived and thrived in a university setting. Upon returning from three years working in Kenya, Jim rented an apartment on my behalf. Father Jim married Else Marie and me Oct. 18, 1972. His friends and mine from St. Paul's, Pat and Barbara Clubb, witnessed our intimate wedding. Father Jim used some very good glue as we remain actively married and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren with a fourth expected in Mar. I'm very pleased to have known Father Jim who was always very generous and kind to everyone. Ron DePauw - Posted by: Ron DePauw (Friend) on: Jan 21, 2020

  • Jim was as fine a man I have ever met. Truly an inspiration. God Bless and keep you Jim. - Posted by: Kelly Sharpe (Friend) on: Jan 20, 2020

  • Very sad to hear Father Jim has passed. I cherished our conversations and his ability to put life into perspective. His years at Holy Cross were a rewarding experience for all parishioners. Peace be to he that served so well! - Posted by: Don Tomac (Friend and follower) on: Jan 18, 2020

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