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In Memoriam: David F. Gray

Sep. 30, 2022
Category: Obituary

David Frank Gray ’60 passed away peacefully in Stratford General Hospital on August 15, 2022, at the age of 83. His wit and wisdom will be missed by family, friends and colleagues.

David graduated with a bachelor of science (1960) from the University of Wisconsin, and a MSc (1962) and PhD (1966) from the University of Michigan in astronomy. David and Katherine (née Price) moved their family to London, Ontario, Canada in 1966, where he joined the Physics & Astronomy Department at University of Western Ontario, now Western University. He remained professor emeritus after his retirement and continued with academic work, including the publication of the fourth edition of his text book The Observation and Analysis of Stellar Photospheres in 2022, first published in 1976. His contribution to astronomy included being president of the International Astronomical Union Commission 36 on the Theory of Stellar Atmospheres (1988-1991), serving on the observing-time allocation panels for international collaborations such as Hubble Space Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, but he was equally proud of the work done at Western’s Elginfield Observatory. He was an active member of the Canadian Astronomical Society and the American Astronomical Society. He was invited to lecture worldwide at many institutions, including the Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics, the Catania Observatory and the Beijing Observatory. He published more than 80 scientific papers and the comet 236616 Gray is named in his honor.

He was an avid bird and wildlife observer, an Eagle Scout and a traditional style archer throughout his life. He canoed and hiked with his family in Ontario, the Rocky Mountains, and the United States. These experiences instilled in his children a reverence for the outdoors and gave them wonderful memories. His children and grandchildren continue to love and cherish what he called the most interesting planet in the solar system: Earth.

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