Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A
Darrell Lee Gray,

Darrell Lee Gray,

Darrell Lee Gray, musician and proud veteran, died peacefully in his sleep on November 16, 2016, at his home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He was 69 years old.
Darrell was born November 6, 1947, in Muskegon, Michigan, to Robert and Margaret Gray. His family also lived in Greenville, South Carolina; Newark, New Jersey; Wayne, Michigan; and Charleston, West Virginia, where he enjoyed watching the tugboats on the Kanawha River as he and his brother crossed the bridge to their paper routes.

The family then moved to the Thomasboro neighborhood of Charlotte in 1961, where he was active in Boy Scouts, adopting his trademark campaign hat. After graduating from West Mecklenburg High School in 1965, and attending Bob Jones University for a time, Darrell entered the U. S. Army, serving in Viet Nam with the Fifth Infantry Division.

Already an accomplished musician, playing cornet and baritone horn in the high school concert band, Darrell took up the stand-up bass as a founding member and official Ditch Wizard of the bluegrass band Chicken Hot Rod. The group was a regular at Charlotte’s Muther’s Coffeehouse, gathering place for a still-thriving folk/rock/acoustic music community.

Darrell also attended Central Piedmont Community College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he received a B.A. in English. He went on to work at Queens University of Charlotte, supervising student publications, and later at Central Piedmont Community College where he managed student activities. In the mid-'90s he gained certification as a respiratory therapist and worked for years in home health care.
Music continued to be a big part of Darrell’s life and he played with many groups in the Charlotte area -- the
Kilocycle Kowboys, the Roustabouts, Blue Denim, and the Red Ball Ranch Hands, to name a few. He moved to Asheville in 2002 and very quickly found musical friends there, playing bass, dobro, and lap steel in informal jams and with the Moon Pie Rustlers.

As his health declined, he and his little dog Dixie moved to Willow Springs Assisted Living in Hendersonville.

Darrell will be remembered for his kind spirit, his quiet intelligence, his subtle and acute sense of humor, and his deep loyalty to his many friends.

Darrell is survived by his brother, Jerry Duane Gray, of Kinston. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Cheryl Ann Gray Lemmond. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, December 1, at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, 962 Old US Hwy 70, Black Mountain.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to an organization of your choice in Darrell’s name.
Jackson Funeral Service is serving the Gray family.