Wilbur (Wil) O. Gray, Jr.
August 24, 2022
Wilbur (Wil) O. Gray, Jr, 47, passed away at his home on August 17, 2022. He was born on September 2, 1974 in Helena, MT to Wilbur O. Gray, Sr. and Diane DeCelles Perez. Wil was a proud member of the Gros Ventre/Assiniboine Tribes with traditional ways learned from his Grampa Roosevelt Gray of the Assiniboine Tribe. Mike Talks Different, adopted him as his son, and taught him Assiniboine traditional ways. Wil graduated from Harlem High School, Aaniiih Nakota College, Fort Belknap, and attended Confederated Salish Kootenai College.
Wil danced in the Sundance Lodge in Oswego at the age of 14-18 years and was mentored by Kenny Ryan. In high school, he began singing at the drum of the "Screaming Hawks Singers" formed by Leo Brockie, Sr., Harlem High School Indian Studies Director and he continued singing with the Fort Belknap Singers and Bob Tail Horse.
Wil began his career in 1994 fire fighter, laborer with Tribal Fish & Game, BIA heavy equipment training program, with Prince Brockie, Tommy Kirkaldie, and George Chandler, Sr. who were tough as nails in perfecting operating and maintaining heavy equipment. In 1998 he was the Farm Manger with Aaniiih Nakota College, 2001 - Manager of KGVA radio Station, 2010 -Facilities Manager and returned to KGVA Station Manager in 2021. He was in the process of installing a new transmitter for KGVA under President – Dr. Sean Chandler until his passing.
Wil is survived by his loving son, Ryan (Janessa) Gray and Ryan's mother, Davie Lee Shortman, his father, Wilbur O. Gray, Sr. and mother Diane DeCelles Perez; sisters -Stephanie (Shawn) Stadel and Jessica Gray; Aunties – Hallie (Richard) Gray, Shelley (Richie) Brisbo, Judy Gray, Carole (Al) Falcon Chandler; Caroline Yellow Robe, Patty Clayborn LaSalle; Uncles – Don Gray, Louie Clayborn, Ted (DeeDee) LaSalle, Ducky (Pearl) Grayboy, Steve Yellow Robe.
Special friends: Al Wayne LaRoque and Dr. Elizabeth McClain