Leon Gray Jr., who is shown here as the infant son of Leon Gray Sr., embraced his father as "... the most influential person in my life."

On an enlarged photo of Leon Gray Jr. – outside of the sanctuary where his homegoing was held – was a snippet of words so in keeping with the observance of Father’s Day.

The words were those of Gray himself, who died June 11 at Methodist Hospital in Germantown. He was 62. His life and legacy were celebrated last Friday (June 18) at New Sardis Baptist Church, where he long had been a member.

The son of Minnie Bond-Gray and Leon Gray Sr., Gray, who was born on Feb. 22, 1959, was remembered as a man of “many” words and whose voice was heard wherever he worked.

That included as special assistant to Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael, legislative assistant for the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, work in television and radio broadcast media and emceeing community events.

Here are the words Gray once uttered and that were shared on his commemoration program:

“There was a lot of making that contributed to who I am today; but the most influential person in my life has been my Dad. I often tell myself if I can manage to become half the man Leon Gray Senior was – I will have accomplished a lot. My Dad was a provider and a role model that was willing to teach me everything he knew patiently and with kindness. He was tough on me at times; but never left any doubt in my mind about his love for me and his family. As I’m raising my sons I often recall things my Dad did while nurturing me from boy to man. I pray I honor my father’s footsteps.”

Gray leaves four sons: Leon Gray III, Brian DuPoint-Gray, Joshua Nole Gray, and Jordan Nicholas Gray.

The family of Leon Gray Jr. during the service celebrating his life and legacy. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

He also leaves to cherish memories Sherry J. Walker-Gray; a daughter, Nickesha Sanders; a sister, Amelia Mattix; a niece, Karmelia Mattix and a host of other relatives and friends.