Inverness Park man dies in Sonoma traffic

05/16/2013

Linda Sturdivant has quit smoking, but on Wednesday she picked up cigarettes again as she talked about her companion of nearly two decades—Terry Gray—who died last week.

The 54-year-old Inverness Park resident was killed in a traffic accident on Friday in Rohnert Park while picking up cigarettes on the way to a movie with his sister and granddaughter, according to Ms. Sturdivant.

“He was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Ms. Sturdivant said as chimes blew in the wind on the porch of the Portola Avenue home they shared, which overlooks Tomales Bay. “He was my heart and soul. He was everything to me.”

Mr. Gray, a carpenter who was known along his West Marin Citizen delivery route as a a volunteer judge for the Point Reyes-Olema 4-H dog show, was fondly remembered by journalist David Mitchell, who wrote of Mr. Gray on his blog, Sparsely Sage and Timely, that he was a gentle, shy man of great humor.

“Terry had helped Lynn and me with innumerable home-maintenance projects, and we enjoyed each other’s company,” Mr. Mitchell wrote. “We, of course, paid him something, but he inevitably tried to give back all or part of the money, saying he was just helping his close friends.”

Those friends included former drinking buddies at the Old Western Saloon, where “In Loving Memory for Terry Gray: Always in Our Hearts” is now painted in the window. “He was always a happy guy; he’d do anything to help anybody,” said Richard Hagenberg, a Bolinas resident who occupied a barstool there Wednesday afternoon. “Never had any trouble with him.”

Bartender Helen Skinner said he was a family man, and had a special fondness for his seven grandchildren.

Mr. Gray is survived by those grandchildren, his companion, sister Debra Gray, brothers Mike McIsaac and Buddy McIsaac and daughters Laura Gray and Diana Baltzley. A memorial service has not been announced.