Eugene Gray Etchison
Eugene Gray Etchison passed away on Thursday afternoon, at Farmfield off of Idols Road in Clemmons. He went home to glory while sitting in his truck looking at his cows in a beautiful field. He was 89 years old.
Gray was born on a snowy Thanksgiving Day on November 24th, 1927 in South Fork to John Orrell Etchison, Sr. and Fleda Belle Collette Etchison, the second of six children. Gray is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lou Ray Wilhelm Etchison and a daughter, Rachel Ann Etchison Yancey of Clemmons, who married Wayne Russum Yancey. Additional survivors are grandson, Daniel Gray Yancey and wife Dr. Katherine Habenicht Yancey of Asheville and granddaughter, Sarah Ann Yancey Vance, DPT and husband Kenneth W. Vance, Jr. of Charlotte. Gray is also survived by a sister Louise Etchison and a brother Larry Etchison and his wife Jan, all of Clemmons. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an older brother, John Orrell (J.O.) Etchison, Jr. and two sisters, Nana Nell Etchison Garrison and Jeannette Collette Etchison Messick.
Gray attended South Fork School then joined the Army, serving in South Korea at the end of World War II. After his service, he worked as a roofer and carpenter before joining his father at Etchison Machine Works, located on Brookstown Avenue in Winston-Salem. Together they established working relationships for building and designing machine parts for R.J. Reynolds, Hanes Hosiery and the City of Winston-Salem. In the late 50s, they moved the machine shop to their farm on Lasater Road in Clemmons. A foundry was added to the Machine Shop to pour brass and aluminum castings.
While Gray was an excellent machinist, his true passion was farming. For more than 50 years, he farmed over 400 acres. He raised corn, ground his own feed and made tons of hay. At his death, he had over 150 head of cattle. Through the years he had wonderful friends, neighbors and family that helped with his farming adventures. In his younger days, he was a talented athlete, playing basketball and baseball. He was an avid sports fan his entire life.
Although his beloved cows took much of Gray’s time, he was a family man. He loved his family, doted on his grandchildren who made him proud, cherished all the family traditions, and was the first one to visit and respond to those in need. Gray was an active member of Union Hill Baptist Church for over 60 years, where he served as a trustee and taught youth and adult Sunday School classes.
The family will receive friends at Hayworth Miller in Lewsiville between 5:30pm and 8:00pm on Saturday, September 30th. The funeral service will be held at Union Hill Baptist Church on Lasater Road in Clemmons on Sunday, October 1st at 3:00pm with Rev. Christopher Burcham officiating. Interment will follow in church cemetery. Memorials may be made to Union Hill Baptist Church at 8494 Lasater Road Clemmons, NC 27012. Online condolences can be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.