Monroe Dispatch - No Struggle, No Progress

Julian Gray Sr., Determined, Esteemed, Persevered

 

October 12, 2017 | View PDF

Julian Maylon Gray

On April 10, 1944 God blessed the union of the late John Gray, Jr. and the late Naomi Brown Gray with the birth of their first son Julian Maylon Gray. Julian passed to his eternal reward Thursday October 5, 2017. During his early years, Julian was reared in the Gentry Quarters of Monroe LA known as "Newtown". He began his primary education at Newtown School, and later attended grade school at Carver Elementary School. Julian was a very bright child and an academically gifted student. As early as grade school, he also displayed strong athleticism and a penchant for sports. It was there in grade school that he met the late Mr. Charles Edwards, who was to become one of his earliest coaches and most profound mentors. Upon entering Monroe Colored High, which transitioned to Carroll High School, Julian continued to excel in both sports and scholastics, under the strict directives of the late Principal Henry Carroll. Julian excelled at football, becoming Co-Captain of the football team during his junior year, and then Captain during his senior year of high school. While excelling in sports, Julian kept up his studies and maintained honor roll status throughout high school. On the team, he played tight end very well, and was an All-State Football Player, catching 16 touchdown passes in his junior year and 13 touchdown passes in his senior year. During his time at Carroll High School, the Bulldogs won their first State Championship in 1961 under the tutelage of Coach J.L. Thomas. Upon high school graduation Julian quickly set his sights on furthering his education and playing "ball". In 1962 Julian was awarded a full athletic scholarship and entered Grambling College, now known as Grambling State University. Following beside him was his high school sweetheart and longtime love, Geneva Lynch.

Under the training of the legendary Coach Eddie Robinson, Sr., Julian and a multitude of teammates were destined for greatness. Despite heavy football training and coursework, during the holidays and summer breaks, Julian came home to work with his father at The Bayou DeSiard Country Club, to earn extra money. Even though earning money was good, it was the lessons that Julian's father instilled in him regarding accountability, perseverance, determination, and challenging work that continued to shape the rest his adult life.

Julian was a guys' guy and a ladies' man. His sense of humor was uncanny, and his ability to make everyone feel welcome was irresistible. He continued to excel on and off the gridiron. Despite a short split from his long-time love, Geneva, they were destined to reunite after some reconciliation. In 1966, during their senior year of college, Julian married his childhood crush and high school sweetheart, Geneva Lynch. He and his bride matriculated Grambling College, both graduating with Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in 1967. During his senior year he was drafted in the 4th round by the New York Jets. However, after sustaining a career ending shoulder injury, he departed from the Jets, leaving the game of football forever. He then returned to his other love - teaching. He very graciously accepted his first teaching job from Mr. Mack Moore at Sevier High School. Julian and Geneva moved to Ferriday, LA in 1967 to embark on a new life and career.

He later transferred to Ferriday High School where he could impart his knowledge of "the game" by working as both a Head Football Coach and Teacher. Winning district football championships every year certainly solidified his decision to continue molding young athletes and developing raw talent. His time in Ferriday, LA was brief yet valuable, as he and Geneva met many lifelong friends in the small but close knit community.

In 1971 he gladly accepted a job from Principal Henry Carroll and reentered the hallowed halls of his alma mater-Carroll High School. He fell into the roll with vigor and gusto as a Business Teacher, Football Coach and Track/Field Coach. In 1976 Julian's tough approach and dedication to his team payed off as he was named the Bayou DeSiard Optimist Track Coach of the Year. Many have said that he also ran a defensive line that was second to none. Shortly thereafter he met a new friend, the late Principal Curtis Armand, who was soon to become a significant leader and career advisor for Julian.

Being the consummate student, in 1977 he hit the books again, returning to school to receive his Master's degree in Administration and Supervision from Northeast Louisiana University. Shortly thereafter he ventured on to receive his Master's +30 degree from Northeast Louisiana University. Teaching accounting, typing, and business courses, he continued to push his students in the classroom as he did his athletes on the track and football field. Julian not only felt it was important to motivate his students, but mentor them as well. In 1983 he was awarded "Male Teacher of Year 1982-1983" at Carroll High School.

In 1983 he was promoted to Assistant Principal at Wossman High School, and spent five transformative years working under the late Grady Jones, who was then Principal at Wossman High School. Julian not only gained another mentor but also a great friend in Grady. He and Grady were said to be like "Ebony and Ivory living in perfect harmony".

In 1988 Julian was promoted to Principal of Carroll High School. It was bittersweet to leave his friend Grady, but certainly a much-anticipated homecoming celebration for Julian, making him the first Carroll High School graduate to ever become principal. During his tenure at Carroll High School, Julian made student education the priority. He may have walked softly, and carried a big stick, but every student felt safe, loved and important.

In 1997 he became the Director of Child Welfare and Attendance at Monroe City Schools and in 2000 was promoted to the Assistant Superintendent of the Monroe City Schools. It was there that Julian found another great mentor and faithful friend Dr. George Cannon. Some would say that they were like " brothers from another mother" or "frick and frack". They may have not always agreed on everything, but they were devoted friends and knew how to compromise, just like family. Julian later served two terms as Interim Superintendent of the Monroe City School before retiring in 2005. Julian selflessly dedicated over 38yrs of his career in education to teaching, coaching, mentoring, restructuring and enhancing the educational experience for thousands of students. He hoped his efforts to improve education would make a positive impact on society.

Julian dedicated his life to Christ and was a member of Avenue Baptist Church under the late Reverend L.B. Oliver. There, he served as the Adult Sunday School Teacher and Associate Superintendent of Sunday Schools. He also frequently visited Mt. Zion Baptist Church with his wife and family for Sunday Services lead by Reverend Ike Byrd, III.

He has received numerous awards over his lifetime including the City of Monroe's Martin Luther King Achievement Award, Henry Carroll Achievement Award, and Carroll High School's Alumni Award, just to name a few. He is a very proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and served as Exchequer of the Monroe Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. for many years. He was also a member of the Roy O. Willis #260 Masonic Lodge and served as President of the Matador Civic Club.

Despite Julian's stoic appearance, it was his raw candor, off handed jokes and comedic timing that so many loved about him. He was a true gentleman- quietly and bravely battling three types of cancers over his lifetime. Julian endured his cancer treatments and dialysis with courage and dignity. On some of his longer trips or hospitalizations, he was often accompanied by his loyal wife, Geneva, coupled with his devoted sister, Janie, and brother-in-law, Carl, or his other brother-in- law Rusty. He always remained generous and humble to his friends and family, despite his tribulations.

Julian's advice, guidance and wisdom have been invaluable to many, and it will be dearly missed. Although he is away, we will continue to carry on the memories and his legacy in our hearts and minds forever.Julian was preceded in death by his parents John Gray, Jr. and Naomi Brown Gray. He leaves to cherish his life and legacy... His loving and devoted wife of 51years Geneva Lynch Gray, and their four wonderful children- Dameon Gray (Denise), Julia Nicole Jason, Julian "Scotty" Gray, Jr., Karen Gray Gomez (Rossie) and 7 amazing grandchildren, Jonathan, Blair, Jillian, Taylor, Brooke, Bailey and Giovanna.His sweet Goddaughter- Iketria Byrd, His lovely eldest daughters from a prior relationship-Tonya W. Galloway (Frank) and Roslyn Holmes (Lamon) and six amazing grandchildren Ramon, Dameon, Kimitria, Anfernee, Kamara, Ravon and several beautiful greatgrandchildren. His caring siblings-

Leamon Gray (Stephanie), Janie Williams (Carl), Barbara Ann Turner, Raynetta Traywick (Joe), Beverly Washington (Larry), Michael Gray and Tammy Gray and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends. Funeral services are Saturday October 14, 2017, 1pm Carroll High School Auditorium Monroe LA. Visitation is Friday October 13, 2-5pm and Family hour is 6-7pm Miller Funeral Home Monroe LA. Please pray for this family.

 

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