Yesterday, Philadelphia, this nation and the world lost another gem with the passing of former U.S. Representative, the Reverend William H. Gray, III.
Here was a good man, one of many bigger-than-life Black men in Philadelphia whom I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of meeting back in the day when I was a punk teenager living in Philly. It was during my work as a barely legal to vote teenager with the late C. Delores Tucker’s voter registration campaign at an event in Harrisburg when I first got to meet Reverend Gray. Since that time and over the next few decades, I would occasionally follow reports of the great work he had been doing, not only for his well-known North Philadelphia church, Bright Hope Baptist where he pastured since 1972, in various Philadelphia communities and elsewhere in the Commonwealth state of Pennsylvania, but also in Congress to where he had been elected to further expand his work.
Gray was Majority Whip of the Democratic Party in the United States House of Representatives during the 101st Congress serving as Majority Whip until his resignation from Congress in 1991. He served as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) from 1991 to 2004. As an African-American, he was the fourth highest-ranking member of the House at the time of his resignation and a minister in Philadelphia. He was co-founder of the government lobbying and advisory firm, Gray Loeffler LLC, headquartered in Washington D.C
Gray was married to the former Andrea Dash; they have three sons, William IV, Justin and Andrew. Gray was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Gray died on July 1, 2013 in London, England, while attending Wimbledon with his son Andrew. It was a sudden death and no cause of death was available. He was 71.
Rest in Peace, Brother Gray. Your family, friends, supporters and even the dissenters with whom you sparred in Philadelphia, this great country and the world, will sorely miss you! –