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Former owner of Arlington Hardware passes on Feb. 13

Jack Gray, at right, at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum with Harry Yost. Gray died Feb. 13. -
Jack Gray, at right, at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum with Harry Yost. Gray died Feb. 13.
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ARLINGTON The pioneers have lost a good friend. Jack Gray, the son of the founder of Arlington Hardware store, finally gave in to the inevitable Wednesday, Feb. 13 at age 88. He was the son of the founder of Arlington Hardware and ran the store with his siblings until 1983 when they sold it to Mike Jones.
Hes been in bed since November, said his sister Joann Gray, who had a knee and a hip replaced during the time Jack was incapacitated.
We both went over to Josephine Sunset Home for a while and then Jack went to Regency Care, but he wasnt very happy. He wanted to be home, Joann said that he went to the hospital Sunday before adding he died Wednesday.
Hes a neat guy, said a long-time friend and co-volunteer with the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association, Ruth Yost.
Ruths husband, Harry, was two years younger than Jack and they were in high school together.
He played football in his freshman year, but then got polio, Harry said.
In recent years the Yosts have worked with Jack for many hours every month at the Pioneer Museum, and before that they were partners and competitors in business in downtown Arlington.
I worked at Copeland and was his competition for some years, Harry said.
I bought a lot of material at his store, Harry said, adding he did a lot of carpentry work in the community through the years and they worked together on the museum.
He sure helped us out, said Harry, who was president of the pioneer association before they started construction on the new museum building.
Jack spent two years with Dyc Dycus, George Arnot and Tom Evans working on the magnificent staircase in the museum.
Jack sanded all the spindles, Harry said. He helped all over the place.
The Yosts also noted that Jacks hunting bounty is a major feature in the museum.
We designed the tall ceilings so that the animal heads could be displayed nicely.
Jack started hunting with his father, John Rickard (Rick) Gray, in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, leaving a herd full of heads that were displayed for many years at the hardware store with many now displayed at the museum for posterity.
It was all thanks to Jack that we got the fantastic display upstairs, Ruth Yost said.
The mounts were installed, but we never saw a bill, said Harry, who also remembers when they first started working on the museum.
Jack was a bit piqued after retiring because he didnt have much to do, Harry said.
After we started working on the building, his color came back. We got his blood circulating again, Harry laughed.
Harry also thanks Jack for volunteering his sister Joann to be the treasurer of the association.
I lost my treasurer and was looking for a treasurer and Jack said, yea, Joann will do it.
Jacks daughter, Connie Gray Harris, said he was a good father.
When we were building our houses, dad was always there, she said. Along with our aunts, his sisters, Joann and Dorothy they were always there.
He was so good with all the grandkids. He never showed his emotions, but you could see the love. He always liked to tease the kids.
Joann believes that her brothers biggest contribution to the community was the many hours of service when they ran the store.
If a farmer called with some pump problems, hed be out there, day or night, seven days a week, said Joann.
The other sister, Dorothy Gray Sturgeon, remembers the time when Jack helped Boy Scout Troop 29 build 50 canoes in the back yard.
The yard was strewn with fiberglass, Sturgeon said.
Everyone agrees on one thing, Jack was very well loved reflected by the fact that all five kids still live in the area.
Jack was the background guy, said Ruth Yost. He never wanted any attention.
The family would like to thank their many friends and neighbors with an extra special thanks to Harold Smith, Denny Sommerville and Sheila Liddle of the fire department.

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