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Gray Whitford, Major, USAF (Ret), slipped the surly bonds of earth and was called home to God this past Wednesday, June 20. Born in New Bern to the late Violet Whitford Parker, Gray grew up in Goldsboro, attended N.C. State University and entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in December 1941, immediately after Pearl Harbor. He transitioned to the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot. A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Gray flew combat missions across three continents.

After his Air Force flying career, Gray returned to Goldsboro for a second career with Kemp Furniture Industries. He returned as well to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 3 in Goldsboro where he earned his Eagle Scout as a young man. A very active Scout leader, Gray served as scoutmaster for Troop 3 on two occasions across many years. His quiet, unassuming manner taught responsibility and leadership to many of Goldsboro's current leaders.

Beyond flying, Gray enjoyed the water. A charter member of Blackbeard's Sailing Club in New Bern, he navigated the Neuse River, Pamlico Sound and Intercoastal Waterway. Gray was always available to help a fellow sailor nearly any time of the year. He also loved the great outdoors, spending early family vacations touring the National Parks of the Western United States.

The Whitfords are members of First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro. Gray Whitford is survived by his loving and devoted wife of nearly 58 years, Elizabeth Barfield Whitford (originally of Columbus, Ohio); two daughters, Sally Whitford Ingram and husband, Cameron, of Norfolk, Va., and Susan Whitford Cottle and husband, Terry, of Goldsboro; and a son, Brand Whitford and wife, Elaine, of Charlotte, N.C. They also have six grandchildren, Amanda Ingram Deaton, LTjg Cameron Ingram, USN, Katy Cottle, USN, Dave Cottle, USN, Christine Whitford and Tyler Whitford.

A memorial service honoring Gray Whitford will be held at First Presbyterian Church (on Ash Street in Goldsboro), Saturday, June 23, at 11 a.m. Family visitation will follow the service at the church, with additional visitation at the Whitford home. Interment will follow in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the Whitford Family requests donations be made to the BSA Tuscarora Council, 316 E. Walnut St., Goldsboro, N.C. 27530; the First Presbyterian Church, 1101 E. Ash St., Goldsboro, N.C. 27530 or the Goldsboro Animal Shelter (New Construction) P.O. Box 227, Goldsboro, N.C . 27533.

Special seating will be provided for past members of Troop 3, Boy Scouts of America, who will serve as honorary pallbearers.

Arrangements are with Seymour Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Goldsboro and online condolences may be directed to www.seymourfuneralhome.com.


Published in Obituaries on June 22, 2007 1:46 PM