Paul David Gray

Paul David Gray, 75, Lawrence, KS, passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus from lung complications on Thursday, September 22, 2022, surrounded by family. Paul was born on March 16, 1947 in Clinton, MO, the son of Wyley Lloyd and Anna Ruth (George) Gray. He married Margaret Ellen “Kitsy” Waggoner on May 31, 1969 in Kirkwood, MO.  She survives of the home. Other survivors include his two daughters, Tacy Fleury (Leigh); Jody White; son, Jay Gray (Alexandra); and 6 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Emery Frederick, and son-in-law Brandon White. Paul received a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Kansas and is remembered for bringing joy to many while performing jazz with groups such as Paul Gray and the Gaslight Gang and the Junkyard Jazz Band of Lawrence. He served in the Army Reserves for 25 years, retiring with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 as the commander of the 312th Army Band. Paul led New Life in Christ church as senior pastor for 30 years, holding a degree in Grace Theology from Global Grace Seminary. The family will greet friends from 6 – 8 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 2022, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. A celebration of life service with military honors for Paul will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022, at First United Methodist Church in Lawrence, Kansas.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Paul’s name to New Life in Christ and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

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The family asks that you leave your favorite memory of Paul on the website.

52 Condolences

  1. Wayland Lankford on September 23, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    An indelible memory: Paul Gray & The Gaslight Gang. Always memorable. R.I.P.

  2. Cait on September 23, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Now that is a smile and eyes I will miss. Not to mention kindness, wit, endless source of encouragement, talented musician… we could all go on and on about Paul. I can’t imagine where I’d be in life without his influence and impact. <3

  3. Willa white on September 23, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of my childhood and teenage next door neighbor. He was a wonderful friend, and I was his pianist at his many state trumpet competitions. He led an accomplished life, and I admire the successes of his life. God bless you and your family. Love, Willa Chick White

  4. Dave Cook on September 23, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Paul found his greatest love not in music or trumpet, but in the kindness and grace he discovered in his best friend, Jesus. If he could return for 5 minutes, he would, without doubt, tell his friends to look into the love of God for themselves. So glad for you Paul. You are resting in the arms of your Savior.

  5. Mary Nunemaker Ross on September 23, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Kitsy and family, I’m so very saddened to hear of Paul’s death. My first full-time job was working as Paul’s secretary and bookkeeper at the music store. What a busy and active place! Paul was involved in so many projects–Bell’s and Odell’s music stores, National Guard, Kansas University music department and the Gaslight Gang. He must have stayed up all night writing letters. It took me the better part of the next work day to decipher and type them up. He was a great boss with many good friends and I know he will be greatly missed.

  6. Joyce Tallman on September 24, 2022 at 7:38 am

    I remember the days of KU marching band and the Jazz House…talented man in many ways. Condolences to Kitsy and the family.

  7. John Warren on September 24, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Kitty, I was sadden to hear of Paul’s passing. I always enjoyed visiting with him when I would see him. You are in my thoughts. John Warren

  8. Jami Flynn on September 24, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Thank you Paul for how you loved and served this Lawrence community so we’ll. The fruits of your labor will continue to flourish. We will see you again. 💕

  9. Terri Bysom Stringer on September 24, 2022 at 8:10 am

    Kitsy and family – I am saddened to hear of Paul’s passing. I think the last time I saw him was at Dad’s bedside when he was in hospice. Despite the circumstances, Paul told of their shared experiences of life “on the road” with the band. Paul was giving us some comic relief in our sadness. You all are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

    Terri Bysom Stringer
    Stacy Stringer Cordell
    Brett Chalmers
    Chris Stringer

  10. Clenece Hills on September 24, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Paul Gray gave his time and talent to so many Lawrence events. One of my fondest memories is the Bicentennial Ball at Liberty Hall in 1975: Paul with his trumpet opening the evening with inspiration and joy. I also had Paul’s and Kitsy’s children in classes at South Junior High School and I have special memories of those parent conferences. Most recently, Paul has been my guest on Timeline Radio to talk about his books.
    The most recent times of his life were wrapped in spirituality by embracing others and bringing them to their own serenity.
    I have also known Paul through my brothers, Bruce Roberts and Bryson Roberts. As drummers, they played many times with Paul and their mutual love of jazz brought great fun and excitement to their listeners.
    I salute Paul Gray for a life of contrasts and generosity. I am grateful to have known him.

  11. Ann Francis on September 24, 2022 at 8:46 am

    So very sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. My first meeting with Paul was in 1969. I was a high school student at the Midwestern Music and Art Camp, and a member of Russel Wiley’s concert band. Paul was working as the music librarian, which was no small job. Whenever Mr. Wiley needed a piece of music, he would call Paul out of the library, and Paul would present that missing piece in less than two minutes. Mr. Wiley would always thank Paul and mention that Paul was a fine young man. Kitsy got a charge out of that story when I told her many years later. After all these many years, I am certain that Russel Wiley had it right – Paul Gray was a fine young man.

  12. Betty Pickerel on September 24, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Kitsy and family: I am deeply saddened for your loss. May you find peace and comfort now and in the future. Betty Pickerel

  13. Lynn Witters on September 24, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Paul was the leader of the Army Reserve band when I joined the Lawrence unit as Chaplain. As we became friends my sense that Paul was a good man deepened. I will always value the memory of Paul as a lover of music, family and his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Kitsy, Sharron and I assure you that our prayers are with you and your family.

  14. LaDonna Laing on September 24, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Kitsy and family, Paul will be missed by so many. Residents of Pioneer Ridge Independent Living traveled to enjoy his band on Friday evenings. After Covid, he brought the band to us. We felt so honored and special. We will miss him very much. We share your pain in losing this very “special” man.

  15. Daren Pippert on September 24, 2022 at 11:16 am

    I am so very sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. What an incredibly inspirational man. He was one of my earliest influences as a musician and later for overcoming great obstacles. Wishing you all peace.

  16. Mark Roseberry on September 24, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Paul was a class-A guy. Kind, gentle, and funny.
    Peace to all who loved him.

  17. Robert B. Howig on September 24, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Most of the Christians I know are living in Googled Grace. Not Paul. He knew God doesn’t give a fig about the number of followers you have. He knew sin. He knew the Christian life, and he knew how hard it could be. He taught with the freedom of a jazz trumpet, which he played to perfection. An active life makes it hard to rest in peace, I’ll bet. I’ll see you later on the other side. Oh, and thanks for saving my soul.

  18. Ruth Westhoff (Ruthie Ellis)) on September 24, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    My forever Windsor friend beginning at age six! Memories will forever be apart of my cherished childhood. Although the years created our distance, Paul’s memories will last a lifetime. Thinking of you Kitty, your children and grandkids! You were able to share your life and love with one of God’s special warriors! RIP Paul!!

  19. Deanell Tacha on September 24, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    The Tacha family is so sad to hear of Paul’s death. He was an inspiration and uplifting presence to us all. Kitsy, we are thinking of you and the family and thank you for sharing Paul with all of us.

  20. Pastor Jeff Barclay on September 25, 2022 at 7:22 am

    Paul was a such wonderful Christian man. He lived a rich, full life. A giving, kind, benevolent, and thoughtful person. He was one of the first pastors I met when my family moved to Lawrence in 2004. Because of his kindness and ability to listen he quickly became a trusted confidant. My father-in-law could dance the night away with Paul’s horn and the rest of the band. My prayers for you Kitsy and the all of your wonderful family.

  21. Debbie Miller and friends on September 25, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Kitsy–We are the work out ladies that saw Paul and J.L. at J and S coffee every Monday morning. Paul always had a smile on his face and something positive to say. We will miss seeing him. Kitsy, we are thinking of you and wish we could take away your pain. Paul was a very special person.

  22. David & Charlene (Eberhart) Simmons on September 25, 2022 at 9:52 am

    My first memory of Paul is listening to The Gaslight Gang at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor as a child with my parents. My parents and I became great followers of them and their music, which helped instill my love of music and jazz. My parents were also frequent guests at The Jazz Haus and anywhere else Paul played over the years. We were so grateful that Paul played his horn at my father’s funeral in 2020. We send thoughts and prayers to Kitsy and family.

  23. Mary and Paul Pendry on September 25, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Dear Kitsy and family, Paul and I were so saddened to hear of Paul’s passing. He was a wonderful, kind man with so much talent. We’ll miss seeing him across the street. We’re thinking of you and sending prayers.

  24. Carroll Howard on September 25, 2022 at 11:35 am

    I remember Paul David coming out to the farm and we would play baseball. His Mom would come pick him up in a red and white 1955 Chevy. He was a great guy and a good friend with lots of talent. He will be missed. Prayers for Kitsy and family.

  25. Lana Sutherland on September 25, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    Paul David has been my lifelong friend. We attended the same church and schools until college.
    He was so talented and loved sharing his talents with everyone.
    Kitsy, I’m thinking of you and the kids. Sending love and hugs. This is a hard one.

  26. Jackie Loneski on September 25, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    He was there two for the greatest and the saddest moments of my life. He married Ron and I, he was there when Ron died, and brought God back in my life! Both of you will be in my thoughts and prayers forever!

  27. David McCullough on September 25, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    I have known Paul David since he was in 1st grade. He will be missed. Prayers for Kitsy and the family.

  28. Todd B. Williams on September 25, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Paul was such a kind friend. He will be missed, but his records and memorial albums for Skipper and Odd are still a cherished part of my collection. All of my love to Kitsy and family.

  29. Jay Smith on September 26, 2022 at 6:12 am

    Kitty, Taci, Jody, Jay….I’m brokenhearted with you.

    Paul was a kind, intelligent, talented and truly special friend. He will be missed greatly.

  30. Kathy Slater on September 26, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Kitsy and family – I am so sorry about your loss of Paul. I remember how many times we would see him coming to pick you up at the Tri Delta house. Such fun times. He made such a difference in people’s lives through church and music. It helps to know he is with Jesus now and you will see him again. God Bless. Love, Kathy

  31. Maudanne Pursley on September 26, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve known Paul all my life. There are memories from grade school and high school and catching up at class reunions.
    I’m sorry for his loss. He will be missed by so many. Kitsy, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you can find peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.

  32. John and De Vonna Oehlert on September 26, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Kitty and family,
    John and I want to send prayers for you and your family. We remember him from the Free Methodist church here in Lawrence.

  33. Alan Cobb on September 26, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    First time I met Paul was when the church met on New Hampshire st. The weather was perfect for the fall. Breeze blowing across the auditorium with Chuck Mangione playing Feels so Good. Thought to myself, yea, this will do. A greeting every time was, Good to see ya, with my reply of good to be seen. Until we meet again, It’ll be good to see ya.

  34. Ric Porte on September 26, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    When you think of the perfect pair….you think of Kitsy and Paul. Their smiles lit up the room. Their pleasant words were always just the right ones. At our class reunions they were always circulating saying Hi and reminiscing of days gone by. I wish I had known him better……

  35. RICHARD COBLE on September 27, 2022 at 10:06 am

    I was shocked and saddened at the news of Paul’s passing. Paul wore many hats in his amazing life; musician, band leader, businessman, entrepreneur, and pastor. Every chapter held wonderful stories and memories, many of which I had the honor of being a part of. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kitsy and family,

  36. Madeline Meyer Gabriel on September 27, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Oh, Kitsy, I am so sorry for the temporary loss of your dear husband whom I never had the pleasure of meeting. He will be waiting for you in heaven. I know you both have touched many lives. God bless and comfort you and your family until we all meet again.✝️🙏💕

  37. Ginger Ingram Wingert on September 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Kitsy and family, I am sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. He was such a devoted Christian, and this showed to everyone that knew him. My mother Colleen Ingram (deceased) thought the world of Paul and you. We first met him through Amway. Mom always talked highly of Paul. He was such a great contributor in our community. Such great memories.

  38. Leslie Vander Meulen Richards on September 27, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Kitsy and family, it is with sadness that I send you this message of sympathy in your huge loss. I am sure you have voluminous memories of happy times in your lives and hope that now those wonderful memories will help you through the present grief. In the future look back on those same memories and rejoice in having had them, good memories are the gifts we are given for the love we have shared. Thinking of you in this sad time.

  39. Krystal Burenheide on September 28, 2022 at 6:27 am

    Kitty – I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

  40. Pamela Baughman on September 28, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Kitsy, Tacy, Jody, and Jay —
    Thank you for Paul. Back in the old Amway days, we got to know you all and always admired and loved you — when you moved to Flint Street so many years ago, it was good to have you in the neighborhood. So good to see you all several weeks ago at the Mad Greek and a memory we shall cherish. One of my favorite memories is of him and the Gaslight Gang playing at Skipper Williams’ services many many years ago and Butch Henderson remarking that Skipper would have enjoyed that so much. We are heartbroken that Paul is gone, far too soon, but we know that the strength you all share is with you today.
    Pam and John Baughman — and Jim, Jed, and especially Johnny B.

  41. Carrie and Guy Neighbors on September 28, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    What a wonderful man that will be sorely missed! We are so sad, the world is definitely a better place because his mother chose life!

  42. Beth Plummer on September 29, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Kitsy and family: I am deeply saddened by the loss of Paul for your family and all who knew him. He will be sorely missed! Love and prayers to your family!

  43. Anne Skjong on September 29, 2022 at 10:51 am

    So sorry to hear the passing of Paul. I knew Paul in the early eighties when I played in the 312th Army Reserve Band. I remember meeting him at his jazz place to audition. I played Edvard Grieg’s Solveig’s Song. He actually needed a piano player but I got a place as a flutist. He was such an easy-going leader and the band was good! Lots to say about those years, but most importantly was the decent and talented man that Paul was.

    My respect for Paul and his family. Bless you.

    Anne Skjong Stavanger, Norway

  44. Joe Reitz on September 30, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Paul was a great friend who changed my life and the lives of countless others. He invited, then persuaded me to take over the Leo Center and Heartland Medical Clinic in 2006, which started in the basement of his church and has since grown in services and staff and patients served by leaps and bounds. It was there that I learned about the problem of homeless children and their families in the Lawrence Community. That, in turn, led to the founding of Family Promise of Lawrence in 2008, which has transformed the lives of God knows how many homeless families over the years. Thirty-five faith congregations have supported Family Promise in many ways, including the efforts of nearly two thousand volunteers. Their working together to effectively serve those families broke down the barriers among the faithful from every faith tradition, including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and evangelical, non-denominational and mainline Christian believers. And their cooperation rapidly increased the awareness of the plight and extent of homelessness in Douglas County. That, in turn, fueled the community’s efforts to address it and other social problems, including Justice Matters. As in the parable of the mustard seed, Paul was the planter. I will be, literally, forever grateful for Paul’s impact on my life and countless others.

  45. John Records on September 30, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    Well done, good and faithful servant. You are God’s favorite, Paul. Love to Kitsy, Jody, Irwin and family.

  46. Julie Baylor (Alley) on October 1, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    Kitsy and family, my deep sympathies for your loss and grief. May the God of all hope fill you with His unique and personal comfort.

  47. Steve and Carla Ramirez on October 3, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    Paul was a good person. We always enjoyed being around him with his sense of humor and positivity. Paul left his mark on this earth. He will be missed. Condolences to Kitsy and the family.
    Steve and Carla Ramirez

  48. Harold and Becky Keen on October 5, 2022 at 10:49 am

    We both have countless memories of Paul. Among other things, he was best man at our wedding! Our memories center around music, mostly, and they’re wonderful to recall. And boy, did we laugh a lot. It was great fun. Over the years, we watched as Paul moved toward a life of faith and service. It was so heartfelt. Simply amazing. Paul has touched countless people and changed their lives. He will be terribly missed. We send our love to Kitsy and the entire family.

  49. Rebecca Thesman on October 12, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Paul and Kitsy were instrumental in helping my son Caleb and I during a difficult time. They exhibited the grace and love of Christ in all they did. We are rejoicing for this talented musician being in the presence of God but also thinking of Kitsy and the family as they grieve. May the comfort of the Spirit be ever present.

  50. Paul Miller on October 17, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    My thoughts go out to Kitsy and family. Most of the great musicians I have played with were in the Gaslight Gang and the Vista Orchestra. I talked to drummer Johnny Moore the day Paul died and of course the conversation turned to stories of “life on the road.” We all have Paul to thank for making those memories possible.

  51. Pat Boothe on November 17, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    I remember Paul from Windsor High School and he was always fun to be around. I can see him next to Gabriel playing there trumpet. Paul lived close by and there were many times I could here him playing his trumpet. Paul is one you don’t forget. His legacy will live on. My prayers go out too his entire family during this time.
    Pat Boothe

  52. Lynn allen on November 18, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Paul played a concert with the gaslight gang at Windsor high in 1969. They were outstanding! I remember going to Lawrence to watch the big eight Christmas tournament in Kansas City. Years ago, Paul brought some youngsters to a skateboard park in Columbia and we had a great visit.
    Prayers to kitty and family.

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