William Lester Gray, aka “Birdseed,” 83, passed away Sunday, July 19, 2020 in Show Low. He was born April 22, 1937 in Clarkdale, Arizona, the son of William Lester Gray and Margarette Killibrew Gray.
Lester was an avid sportsman and could be found hunting, fishing or riding on horseback all over the state of Arizona. Lester began his work career as a surveyor for the Arizona Highway Department and assisted in surveying the route that is currently known as the I-17 from Flagstaff to Camp Verde. In the early 60’s he owned and operated the Seneca Creek gas station and was frequently visited by the King Elvis Presley during his travels in Arizona. In the late 60’s he owned and operated the Strawberry Lodge. He then joined the Local Union #428 working as a crane operator. During this time he helped build several smelters, power plants and bridges throughout the state. He retired in February 1982.
Lester bred, raised trained and raced quarter horses until 1990. He was a ranch hand for many different outfits until the mid 00’s. For the St. Johns community he was an organizer for the St. Johns Little League Basketball. He provided security at the fairgrounds, horse races, rodeos and other events. Lester was also a Marshall for the Apache County Coronado Precinct for the election board.
Lester is survived by his wife, Marjorie P. Gray, St. Johns; sons, Eduardo Cruz, Tempe; Will (Evelyn) Gray, Florence; daughters, Tiffany (Christina) Trejo, Phoenix; Heather (Justin) Gray-Akin, Florence; brother, John Gray and six grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, Nettie and Tuffy Peach and brother, Clinton Gray.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 10 a.m. at the St. Johns First Baptist Church.
For those who have special memories and would like to leave an online condolence for William’s family, visit www.burnhammortuary.com
Burnham Mortuary, St. Johns, handled arrangements