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John Calonkey Gray

1922 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
John Calonkey Gray Obituary
John c. gray John Calonkey Gray, age 91, died in Naples, Florida, on Wednesday morning, November 13, 2013, of cardiac failure. He was born in Downers Grove, Illinois on October 27, 1922 to John Gray and Josephine Julia Gray (Calonkey). Raised in Downers Grove, he made lifelong friends in the town where his father was a conductor on the Burlington Railroad and his mother tutored mathematics. He played baritone in the high school band. He began college, but enlisted in 1942, assigned to the 719th Squadron of the 449th Bomb Group. He was a true military hero, rescuing other crew members and then parachuting to safety himself from their crippled B-24 Liberator, "Mighty Mouse." Six other crew members were lost that day, near Potenza, Italy January 15, 1944. John was captured by the Nazis several days later, while trying to return to the Allied lines, and was a POW for 16 grueling months, in Stalag Luft I. A photo of him and another prisoner peeling potatoes, is in the Air Corps Museum in Dayton, Ohio. He and the others were liberated by the Russians on May 15, 1945. He returned to Downers Grove where he married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy Jean Kidwell and they attended the University of Michigan. He received his degree, Bachelors in Accounting and Masters in Business. Jean was voted "Best Legs on Campus." They lived their entire married life in Downers Grove and raised three sons, John Kidwell, Christopher Arthur and Michael Scott. He initially worked for Scovell-Wellington CPAs until his career with Morton Salt Company in Chicago, which lasted several decades as their Systems Analyst and Comptroller. He retired to Naples, Florida after Jean 's death, and also survived the deaths of two subsequent wives, Rosemary Norris and Muriel Martinek. He is survived by his son, John K. Gray and Kathryn (Horton); and Grandsons, John T. Gray (Jessica Johnson), Justin A. Gray (Lisa Asmus) and Seth T. Gray (Megan Griffin); Son, Michael S. Gray and Deborah (Miller) and their sons, Michael A. Gray (Nicole Martin), Nathan C. Gray and Collin J. Gray. Also Great Grandchildren, Dayna, Hannah, Tessa and Lucas. His past 15 years in Naples have been spent happily with friend and companion in sobriety, Shirley Rankin. He remained a rabid U of M football fan, lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and a great Hero to his family and friends. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full Honors.
Published in Suburban Life Publications on Nov. 27, 2013
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