James R. Gray, 83, of the Rooster Valley in rural Spring Grove, died Monday, September 11, 2023, at Gundersen Medical Center in La Crosse, Wis.
James was born September 30, 1939, in Panama City, Fla., to Randall and Nathalie (Waller) Gray. He graduated from Bay High School, Panama City. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mathematics from Florida State University. On June 9, 1962, he married Julia Hobbs in Port Royal, Va. He was employed by the Institute for Instrumental Mathematics of the University of Bonn, Bonn, West Germany, in 1963 and 1964. From November 1964 to September 1965 he worked for IBM in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. From September 1965 through June 1969 he was a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. He was a professor of mathematics at California State University – Los Angeles. In 1971 James and Julia purchased a farm in Rooster Valley, Black Hammer Township, Houston County, Minn. From 1977 to 1984 they had a small dairy herd. In 1984, the family moved back to Madison and he continued to work at UW – Madison until retiring back to the farm in 1999. He enjoyed mathematics, classical music, especially Richard Wagner, art, and foreign movies.
James is survived by his wife Julia and two sons, Andreas of Spring Grove, and Alexander (Lisa) of Champaign, Ill.; two grandchildren, Sierra and Maia Gray of Cleveland, Ohio; and a sister, Julia Elizabeth Gray of Evans, Ga.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Clifford Timothy Gray of Tallahassee, Fla.
A Celebration of Life for James will be at 12 noon on September 30 at their farm, 13878 Rooster Valley Rd, Spring Grove, Minn. The Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel is assisting with arrangements.