Nick Gray: Gone So Long But Not Forgotten on His Birthday

This section includes both obituaries and memories. Honoring our loved ones who have died does not end immediately after their passing. We recognize that… so we’re extending our obituary section to include individuals who may have left a long time ago. If you want to remember someone who is gone, either recently or longer ago, please send a photo and a few sentences to mskymkemp@gmail.com. Tell us why you would like to honor the person–is it their birthday, the date of their passing or some other date of significance to you.

Today would have been Nick Gray’s 52nd birthday. In remembrance, his mother, Shirley Gray, sent in the pictures of him she has tucked in her heart. She asks that you share your memories, too.

Nick Gray

Nick Gray

5/5/64 – 7/13/95 

Cinco de Mayo is Nick Gray’s birthday. He would have been 52 this year. It’s hard to believe it has been almost 21 years since he died.

Nick was raised by the SoHum village, known from Briceland to Salmon Creek, Whitethorn to the Country Tavern. Seely Creek swimming hole was his childhood playground.

“If you keep smoking you’ll always be a skinny little guy,” we told him, smoking. But he surprised us all by becoming a big strong handsome man.  He was full of surprises.

He loved his work as a seasonal firefighter. He loved his work as a bartender until his demons grew out of control. He loved Sarah and his family and his southern Humboldt community. He had a lot of friends.

He was always smart and funny but later, as a man he became more kind and helpful, though his fire helmet has “Grumpy” printed on it. He could be infuriating, but mostly we forgave him. He was so lovable.

Lost to us in that last ride off Alderpoint Road, high as a kite, the setting sun in his eyes, he is still dearly loved and sorely missed.

Please share stories.

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14 comments

  • My biggest memory of Nick is not having seen him for a year–the year he blossomed from a skinny boy with a mischievous grin that used to spend days hanging out with me into a guy with shoulders twice my width.

    “Kym,” he boomed in the bar at the Cellar that night.

    I turned to look at the large, handsome guy behind me. “I’m sorry. I don’t remember your name,” I said not sure if this was just one of those people I’d met once or some guy in a bar who’d just found out my name from his buddies.

    He roared with laughter. His teeth flashing white under his mustache. “It’s Nick…Nicker,” he said. And so it was. What a huge, warm hug he gave.

    Still makes me smile to think about the hug and about him.

  • WHAT A Nice Comment Kym I Don’t Recall The mAn But RIP .I think the guy looks just like Craig Lehman.

  • He was the brother that biology didn’t provide me, a friend, a partner in crime and a great comfort on dark days.
    I will never stop missing him….

  • A wicked smile, a ready laugh, a friend who overlooked the defects in us all and loved us exactly as we were.

    When the sun rose the next day the world was dimmer.

    Much Love my Brother.

  • There was never a better entrance than when Nick would stride in, long greatcoat flapping, rascally grin and cool breeze too. He was SO handsome and charming and sweet. And right there at your side if you were in a pinch, or if you wanted someone fun to play with – but don’t bother to tilt your cap because he made it clear that Sarah was his girl. The world got darker when he left and I will always miss him.

  • Kymmarie Skinner

    Gosh do I miss him. One of my best friends since high school. I also was surprised by the change in Nicker’s size one day in the Branding Iron. It was a day that I realized even when we hadn’t seen each other for a spell, the love was still there. As we used to say in Spanish class- Sure Happy It’s Thursday!

  • There are those people that will always stay in your heart… Nicker was one of those people for me! Through the fabric of my youth, all the way to becoming ” adults” there was always a love! His wit, and smile… I still see him sometimes… In passing cars, or walking down the street. Always gonna miss that Boy!

  • I hear he was a awesome guy, I don’t remember him. Probably met him somewhere along the way. But Rheal knew him, and he was so very up set when he passed. ..he really missed him. So, to them both, Rest In Paradise.

  • All day long, I’ve been thinking of Nick. Thanks Kym and Shirley! I have so many good memories of Nick, but here I’ll share one. One year, 20 years ago, Nick and Sarah, Dennis and Veda, and Lisa and I went to the NASCAR race at Sears Point. We camped and had a great time together and I kind of thought of Nick as a beloved younger brother. I will never forget the glow in Nick and Sarah’s eyes as they interacted. It was obvious that they had epic love for each other and it was wonderful to behold!

    We had a great weekend and, as luck would have it, Nick’s favorite driver (Earnhardt) won the race. I didn’t care for Earnhardt, but was happy that Nick’s guy won. Nick was merciless in his needling of Dennis and I and we had to eat some crow. After the race, we walked the track and Nick bought a Dale Earnhardt hat, which he treasured.

    Today, that 20 year-old beat up hat is one of my prized possessions, not in a closet or an attic somewhere, but right next to my chair in the living room. I can reach out and touch it and it reminds me of my little brother every day.

    I miss you Nick!

  • I don’t remember Nick too much, I was young. But his children I’ve had the honor to know, and they are amazing.

  • I’m dating myself, Shirley, but when I think of Nick, I still picture him as a young boy with you and Pete, and later Lee, as our next-door neighbors in Windy Gap. Lots of water under the bridge since then, but fond remembrances. You have served his memory well. Happy Mother’s Day and hello to Pete.

  • SusyQ-savagesue

    He still comes In my dreams,frequenty.may 4th this yr. My other legendary friend passed in 2013,and they are sure to be hanging out together. I have had vivid Dreams of both,this week.So many songs to sing out loud……….OngoBongo, David Bowie come to mind.Love to the Grays

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