Thomas J. Gray Foundation
Marjorie S.
Developing today's youth into tomorrow's leaders.

Thomas James Gray
February 17, 1917 – January 31, 2014

Born in 1917 in New York City, Thomas J. Gray moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1925 and, except for 4 years in Wheeling, grew up on the west side of Cleveland. Graduating from West High School in 1933, he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1937. He took a job at the Sherwin Williams Company in Cleveland and went on to attend Cleveland Marshall School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1941. He later returned to school, obtaining a Masters Degree in Chemistry from Western Reserve University (now known as Case Western Reserve) in 1955.

Tom served in the Coast Guard during WWII (1943-46) and upon leaving the Coast Guard returned to employment with the Sherwin Williams Company in Cleveland. In 1951 he joined a small firm known as Switzer Brothers, Inc. – later known as Day-Glo Color. Switzer Brothers was a pioneer in the field of fluorescent color and invented many of the bright colors we know today. Tom served in several roles with the company, including technical, legal, business development, and executive, retiring in 1989 (at the age of 72) as Vice President, International and House Counsel.

It was at Switzer Brothers that he met Marjorie Alice Smith. Marjorie was born in Parkman, Ohio, graduated from Parkman High School in 1938 and attended Spencerian College in Cleveland before taking a job at Switzer Brothers. Tom and Marge were married in 1953 and raised two sons in Orange Village, in the suburbs of Cleveland.

Tom dedicated his life to service through the Boy Scouts of America. Tom began his life long journey with the Boy Scouts on his 12th Birthday, obtaining the rank of Eagle (with four Palms) in 1930 while a member of Troop 52 in Lakewood, Ohio. Tom never missed a season at camp. At the age of 96, Tom still enjoyed camping with the scouts – supporting and mentoring the boys and their leaders, doing his chores, and enjoying the camp experience. Scouting was a family affair for the Gray family. Both of Tom’s sons were active in Scouting, both achieving the rank of Eagle from Troop 309 in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Tom was even awarded several badges by the Girl Scouts of America after assisting his granddaughters in scouting.

Tom served in nearly every role possible for Scouting volunteers and has been recipient of many honors for his service and dedication to the scouts, including the District Award of Merit, National Scoutmaster Award, National Distinguished Commissioner Award, and the Silver Beaver. He was a Doctor of Commissioner Science from the University of Scouting where he served on the faculty. In 2010, he was honored by celebrating the “Greater Cleveland Council Thomas J. Gray Eagle Scout Class of 2010”. Minutes before his passing, a proud and honored Tom was awarded the 85 year Veteran Award and was told of his nomination for the Silver Antelope. Through this lifelong affiliation with Scouting he been committed to enabling young men to build strong character, become leaders, and pursue educational goals to learn the skills to achieve their goals in life.

Tom was preceded in death by his wife Marjorie and eldest son Thomas Jr. He is survived by his son Jon (Kay); daughter-in-law Marcy; four grandchildren Jennifer, Noel-Marie (Jerry), Brian, and Danielle (Ryan); and five great-grandchildren.


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