Sadly, on April 17, Rita Lyons notified us that her husband, Rick Gray, a longtime chapter activist, died of heart failure due to COVID-19 at the age of 75. Besides Rita, Rick leaves behind two sons, Chris and David, a stepdaughter, Faith, as well as five teen-aged grandchildren.
For three years, Rick was an Army helicopter mechanic in Germany—and, for the rest of his life, greatly enjoyed wearing his regiment’s Second Calvary hat. For 40 years, Rick was a computer programmer for insurance and pharmaceutical companies. In his retirement, he loved baking (specialties included Magic Cake, Irish soda bread and muffins) as well as woodworking, word puzzles and baseball.
A NOW member for 20 years, Rick served as South Jersey NOW’s Database Manager, ALICE’S List coordinator, Clinic Escort and a member of our Nominating Committee. In addition, he served as our delegate to the NOW-NJ State Board, and as NOW-NJ’S Vice President for Membership for ten years.
NOW TRIBUTES TO RICK GRAY
When notified of Rick Gray’s death, members from NOW chapters all over the state, were moved to write responses that reflected their feelings and remembrances of Rick. They were so touching, we wanted to share them with you. Please note, the last one is from the President of National NOW in Washington, DC!
An amazing man that worked hard for all NOW NJ chapters! He is an example for all men to follow. Super sad to hear this. –Denise Wilkerson
This news is so sad! Rick was one of the gentlest but strongest male feminists I’ve ever known. –Barbara Foley
This is very sad news. Rick helped anyone whenever he could. One of the nicest people we would find. My heart breaks for Rita and their family. –Shirley Henderson
Rick was always eager to help. It seemed that he would drop everything to get you the information you wanted. Whatever he did for South Jersey to make getting and keeping members easier he would happily share. We worked together on some of the state elections; he created a mean ballot. I will miss him as we all will. Sincere condolences to his wife and family. –Susan J. Waldman
When I heard about this today my heart was broken. Rick was always shining light, willing to help anyone and lend his energy and expertise to any challenge. I considered him a friend that will be sorely missed. Please keep us updated about how we can honor his life and service. –Karen Lontka
This is so very sad. While we were aware of Rick’s health issues, I thought he would always prevail over them. He was funny, incredibly competent, and a joy. He will be terribly missed. Rest in Peace Rick. —Jill LaZare
I’m so sad to hear this. I only met him a few times, but any man who is the adamant and avowed feminist that he was makes him a hero to me. –Linda Weber
My heart goes out to Rita and his family. Rick was a dedicated and conscientious member of NOW-NJ, always willing to help. I’d send him an email and would get a response from him almost immediately. I’ll miss him much. –Joanie Parks
I’m so sorry to hear this. We will miss him. –Laura Troy
So sad to hear this. Rick was an amazing man. He knew what to say to make you feel better and had the most amazing dad jokes. 🙂 He was a huge help when I was treasurer and had to decipher where members were located. He was a kind soul. He will be greatly missed. –Michelle McMullen
Sad news………Rick was a valuable member of NOW. He’ll be missed. –Abbie Spector
Sorry to hear about Rick. He was a good man who served NOW with honor. –Chris Borget
I liked Rick a lot. He will be missed. –Kathy Pritz
He did so much for SJ NOW & NOW-NJ. He will definitely be missed. –Rita Spaulding
My memories of Rick go way back! He was always so ready to pitch in, and at the time I still came to program meetings at night, he brought some lovely home-baked desserts! —Marion Steininger
Ricks’ passing was like losing a brother all over again. For several years Rick and I traveled together to the state board meetings. We both served in the Armed Forces and had similar experiences while in the service. I found Rick to be kind, helpful and as others have stated an example for all men to follow. My condolences to Rita and the rest of his family. As for the NOW organization we have lost a strong advocate for women. May he rest in peace. –Dea Evans
Please extend our condolences to his family. We know he was very active and will be missed. He was what my chapter called a NOW COW. This is a term of honor, once back in the day, an anti-choice person called us NOW cows and my chapter members and I laughed and laughed. We are the worker bees who make NOW tick. I know Rick was a true NOW COW. He will never be replaced. –Toni Van Pelt, President, National Organization for Women