The much loved Rod Gray passed away in Durango, Colorado, at sunset on July 2nd, the eve of the summer supermoon. Rod was born in Oakland and raised in Sacramento, California. With his older brother Randy at his side, Rod explored everywhere and encountered every creature imaginable in the Sacramento Valley, developing a love of nature that deepened over the years.
Adulthood broadened Rod’s interest in nature. Nature became music, then travel, and then the love of the Southwest. Along this path, Rod developed a fascination for fly fishing, and, like everything Rod pursued, passion became expertise. As an expert, Rod was sought-after as both a guide and teacher. Rod coached others as a manager of a remote fishing lodge in Alaska, loving the rivers of summer and the magnificence of the North.
But far more importantly, it was while leading a fishing adventure in Belize that Rod met the love of his life, Nancy Greenman. This relationship brought Rod back to his hometown of Sacramento. His only child, Jacob Gray, arrived shortly thereafter, and a new family was born.
Rod was family-centered from the beginning. Rod and Nancy moved the family to California’s central coast, initially to San Luis Obispo and later to Templeton, California. His passions expanded there as Rod explored wine-making, gardening, landscaping, home improvement, and cooking. A true chef, he delighted in making delicious and beautiful food for others to enjoy. Always learning, Rod increased his skill and appreciation for his many interests throughout his life.
Rod and Nancy had been on a journey to find the right place to settle for their retirement years; a place with a river for Rod to fish and mountains for Nancy to hike and ski. This final chapter of Rod’s life took the couple to the lovely Animus Valley of Colorado and the town of Durango. From Durango, traveling by van (meticulously outfitted by Rod), the couple spent a year exploring the locale, the Southwest, and the indigenous ruins of a culture that remained clear in Rod’s mind. It was a wonderful year of new exploration and remembered passions.
But it was not to last, and pancreatic cancer was the undoing. And, in true “Rod-fashion”, he persisted in his attention to the outside world, learning all about birding and astronomy, sharing the latter interest with his son. As life slowed, he spent his last months and days looking up and out, loving the light until the end.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Greenman, his son Jacob, brother Randy, his sister-in-law, Anna, and his nephew Corey. Rod also leaves behind countless friends, students, and colleagues.
“Life is short but wide.”