It is with great sadness that the family of Allison Hazen Gray announce his death on December 27, 2021 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Al was born August 12, 1935 in Woodstock, New Brunswick Of Loyalist stock, he was the only child of Hazen Hartford Gray and Alice Grace Elizabeth Wiggins. He received his honours BSc and MSc degrees in chemistry at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.
As an undergraduate at Mount A, he met fellow student Elaine Mahase, a beautiful and talented young woman from the West Indies. They married at her home in Trinidad in 1958 and Al went on to complete his Ph.D in organic chemistry at the University of New Brunswick. Their first two children, Susan and Rodney, were born in Fredericton. After completing his PhD, Al worked as a scientist with Domtar in Montreal , where their third child, Daryl, was born.
In 1964, the opportunity to carry out cancer research brought Al, with his family, to the University of Wisconsin (Madison), where he took up a post-doctoral fellowship in organic chemistry. The University of Wisconsin was a hothouse of intellectual scholarship and he was able to study and work with some of the great scientific minds of the time. At the end of his fellowship, the University offered Al a permanent faculty position. He declined this huge honour because he wanted his children to grow up as Canadians. Instead, in 1965, he accepted a position with the Canadian Department of National Defence, as a scientist at DRES (the Defence Research Establishment Suffield), Alberta.
The family lived in Ralston until 1975, when they moved to Medicine Hat. Al worked at DRES for nearly 30 years, retiring in the mid-nineties to start a private chemical consulting company called Chemboss.
Al had a passion for knowledge and ideas. His mind never stopped moving. He was fascinated by science, photography, languages, poetry, music, world religions and cultures. He always kept up with the latest technological advances in electronics and computers. Al loved flying and piloted the family all over Canada.
From the mid-sixties, Al owned horses. Countless people rode or learned to ride on the family’s property in the rolling prairie near Redcliff. And Al would always let experienced riders use his best horse.
Al’s love for the arts was well known. He acted in local theatre and played the saxophone in many local ensembles including the Medicine Hat College Jazz Band, the Medicine Hat Concert Band, and the Medicine Hat Dixieland Jazz band. Al joined the Medicine Hat Rotary Club where he made significant contributions to the community and to the Club’s newsletter. He spent many hours fundraising and volunteering at the Rotary Music Festival.
Al’s support for those he loved was limitless, and his encouragement for his children and his grandchildren (Alexandra, David, Michael, Samuel, Christopher, Jonny, and Katherine) to do everything and anything they dreamed of doing, is his most important legacy. Al’s smile was wide and his laughter filled the room. His heart and love had infinite capacity.
The family deeply thanks the staff at Riverview for their care and compassion, especially in Al’s final months. Warm thanks also to Preston Sloan for his commitment, Extended Family Services, and special friends, including Jan and Bruce Dynes.