Advanced Search:

Regular Search
❮ Go Back to Listings


Born: Feb 06, 1926

Date of Passing: Aug 01, 2020

Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory

Adjust Text Size: A+ A-


Bill Gray passed peacefully on Saturday, August 1, 2020. He was 94 years old and a resident of Winnipeg's Deer Lodge Centre, where he received exemplary care.
Bill was born in Elfros, Saskatchewan on February 6, 1926. He was predeceased by his father Jack, and mother Ethel, his sister Dorothy, who passed in her youth, as well as his brother Jack, who died in the Second World War. He is survived by his older sister Evelyn Metke of Fort Frances, Ontario.
Bill was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Pauline, in 2007 and his son-in-law Alan Einarson, in 2012. He is survived by his immediate family: son John (partner Patricia, granddaughter Kristin, her husband Stephen, and great-granddaughters, Sophia and Matilda; and grandson Matthew); son Mark (wife Anne, grandson Kelsey and wife Alana, granddaughter Alanna, her partner Darren, and great-granddaughters, Bodhi and Indica, granddaughter Emily); and daughter Meg (granddaughter Ellie).
Bill graduated from high school in Weyburn, Saskatchewan in 1944 and joined the Royal Canadian Navy. He was just beginning his ocean service when the war ended and he returned home. He started working at CIBC, eventually becoming a Branch Manager. Bill and Pauline met in Fort Frances. They married in 1952 in Winnipeg, where they lived for all but a few of their remaining years, raising their family, working, and taking part in the community.
Working at CIBC, Bill learned that the people with largest accounts were businesspeople. Starting in 1965 with a laundromat, Bill, with Pauline at his side, became a serial entrepreneur. They bought the Dairy Queen on Henderson Highway in 1967 with five more to follow at various times after Bill left the bank in 1971. He also worked for Dairy Queen International for several years, travelling Western Canada. Other investments made along the way included a mobile vending business, gas station, insurance company and golf courses. The fast food business beckoned again with the circuitous acquisition of two Boyd's Burger Master stores in Great Falls, Montana. Considerable time and effort went into this operation including driving to Montana at least monthly. The business was eventually sold to the manager although travel to Montana continued. 1986 brought the acquisition of Gourmet Coffee Specialists Ltd. Again, considerable time and effort was expended and Bill operated the company for 20 years before selling it to management. Even after the sale, this was his 'office' until he was 90. Bill mentored many younger entrepreneurs over the years and assisted them with advice and capital to help them succeed.
Bill was involved in many community activities as a member of several organizations: Masons, Optimists and the St. Andrew's Society. Bill was a reservist with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders from which he retired as a Major. He also supported the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba through the Dairy Queens and telethons and was one of the initial organizers of the annual Dr. Goodbear Golf Tournament. He was a life member of the Deer Lodge Curling Club, serving on the Board and as President. Bill was also a 45-year member of St. Charles Country Club where he served on the Board.
Alongside Pauline, Bill attended most of his grandchildren's sporting events, dancing competitions and academic ceremonies. They were always there to support and spend time with the grandkids. The grandkids lived nearby and both he and Pauline built special relationships with them through this closeness as well as through many ski trips to the Montana cabin. He was also fortunate enough to spend time with his great-grandchildren.
Bill has been cremated and his ashes are in a cardboard box beside Pauline's while they figure out where to go next. There will be a private memorial at this time and, when larger gatherings are permitted, there will be a celebration of his life.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba (CE 501-840 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, MB R3Z 1S1).

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 08, 2020

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • Matt, We were so sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing. I know how important he was to you in your life growing up. After reading his obituary, he sounds like an amazing man who lived such a full life. Our sympathies to you and your family. - Posted by: DONA and TERRY LUDWICK (Acquaintance of Matt) on: Aug 10, 2020

  • Heartfelt sympathy to each of you. Uncle Bill always opened his home to us anytime we were in Winnipeg. We loved listening to him talk about the grandchildren and how proud of each one's accomplishments. His pride and joy ..gorgeous antique car was always a sparkle in his eye! Many a trip was made to the zoo through their Beautiful back yard with Meg in the lead! DQ visits and a pail of ice cream to bring back to Fort Frances was always loved. Coffee and caraft deliveries to Greta she loved along with the visits! Aunt Pauline and Uncle Bill supported Terry and I during the length numerous illnesses and treatments of our parents which always holds a special place in our hearts. They are all joined again catching up and most important no more suffering. RIP Uncle Bill Hugs to you all. Twyla Howarth and family, Terry Eide and family - Posted by: Twyla Howarth (Niece ) on: Aug 09, 2020

  • John, Mark, Meg and clan: My condolences on the loss of your dad, a true friend, mentor, political arguer, and truly funny man. He hired me at CIBC Moorgate as a green 20 year old in 1964 and the day I started he put me in a teller’s job due to staff shortage. My brother-in-law Den Anderson was in the Camerons with Bill, and when your mom got sick in 1953, Den and my sister Patt took over their wee suite on Broadway. We had later connections with your folks, your grandparents and Evelyn and Herman in Fort Frances. There was seldom a moment with your dad when we were not all smiling and laughing about some story he was telling. He was 100% real — his golf clubs were worth more than his ‘51 Ford in the late ‘60s. Early in my banking days, he and I went downtown to pick up some bonds. He was obliged to carry a gun, but it went in one pocket, the bullets in another — “I don’t want anybody getting shot!” Your dad was a great mentor to me, and he was a friend to nearly every St. James businessman. We’ll all miss Bill, as we’ve missed Pauline. You folks keep your great memories - Posted by: Ian Moore (Friend, employee ) on: Aug 09, 2020

  • Bill was a lovely man and so very kind. We, my family and myself, sometimes with Keith McCharles as well, spent some very good times with Bill and Cynthia and I will always remember the two of them together. He will be greatly missed. Deepest condolences to Bills family from myself and my family. - Posted by: Sidney Macaw (friend of Cynthia McCharles and the the boys Keith and QM) on: Aug 08, 2020

  • Please accept my sincerest condolences on the passing of your dad, grandfather, great-grandfather. He will be remembered as a hard-working, honest and respectable man. Bill’s greatest joy was his family and he loved to share stories. His office door was always open for advice, a chat or a coffee. It did not matter how busy and crazy things got at the office at the end of the day his desk top was completely cleaned off and ready for the next day. I have fond memories of him walking up the side walk of the office with DQ Blizzards in his hands for us. Mr Gray you will be deeply missed. - Posted by: Debbie Kelly (nee Walter) (Former employee Gourmet Coffee Specialists) on: Aug 08, 2020

❮ Go Back to Listings