George Alfonso Gray
Captain, United States Army Air Service
the Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, November, 1956, Number 55
In a recent issue, concerning the passing of George Gray, we had no details and could only list him as having departed on his last flight. Since then, we have received complete information in the following tribute.
On February 1st, 1956 the Early Birds lost a beloved member when George Gray took off for the Great Beyond.
George was born in Blue Hill, Maine, September 23, 1878 and was educated at the Blue Hill Academy. He learned to fly at the Wright School of Aviation, Dayton, Ohio, in 1911, receiving private pilot certificate No. 142. He was the first to fly over the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain, 1912, and made many demonstration and passenger-carrying flights over cities of the Eastern Seaboard area.
Prior to the First World War he demstrated the effectiveness of bombing from his Wright "B" airplane over Camp Whitman and Fort Ethan Allan in New York State, and upon outbreak of the war was commissioned Captain, serving in France in 1917 and 1918. He remained in the Air Service until 1920, when he returned to civilian life and became a manufacturer's representative and consulting engineer with offices in Washington, D.C.
In 1913 he married Edith Sterns of Culpepper, Virginia. She flew with him on several of his demonstration and inter-city flights, and chronicled their experience in her Book, "Up." published in 1931. George's name is inscribed in bronze on the memorial to Wilbur and Orville Wright in Dayton, where the pupils who learned to fly at that original Wright school are listed.
George's remains were buried in Arlington Cemetery.
A beautiful tribute of flowers from the Early Birds was placed on his grave.
His mortal remains lie near the North Gate of that National Shrine, but
his heart and his soul and his happy smile are his living heritage to us
all, as he flies above us.
GRAY, EDITH S WID OF GRAY, GEORGE ALFONSO
Posted: 27 June 2007