Gray, Donald Earl 1/6/2022 Kalamazoo, MI Dr. Donald Earl Gray DVM, 98, passed away on Thursday, 6 January 2022. He was able to spend his last days peacefully at home, surrounded by his family. He was predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Cammie Ruth Gray, as well as son Otis Andrew Gray and daughter Kimberly Gray. He is survived by daughter Karen Kay Decker and her husband Jim, son Donald Edgar Gray and his partner Ara, daughter Paula Ann Gray and her husband Mark, sister Marilyn Chaulk, five grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Born in Flint, Michigan, in 1924, Don graduated high school third in his class and attended Michigan State University. Near the end of his third term, in the midst of World War II, he decided to volunteer for induction into the U.S. military hoping to become a naval pilot. He approached MSU's dean, who assumed Don was looking for a deferment from military service; upon hearing that what he actually wanted was to receive credit for the term, the request was granted. Don took a leave from education, was inducted and indeed assigned to naval air, and became a pilot just before the war ended. Don first learned to enjoy travel at the age of 14, when his parents gave he and a friend permission to hitchhike to Chicago. From that time on, he hitchhiked his way anywhere he wanted to see – to the World's Fair in 1939; to Pittsburg, Cedar Point, Niagara Falls, and Schenectady; and, in March 1946, to Ruleville, Mississippi, where he married Cammie Ruth, whom he had met while training with the Navy. Shortly after they were married, Don applied and was accepted to veterinary school. He started school in September 1946, and he and Cammie Ruth lived in a tent while the family (Don's parents and 70-year-old grandparents) helped them build a small cinderblock house. He completed four years of vet school, graduated in 1950, and built a veterinary clinic in Kalamazoo. He and Cammie Ruth raised and loved a family of five children, and Don's early affinity for travel flourished throughout their lives together (albeit with less hitchhiking). They toured the globe via car, bus, train, airplane, freighter, and cruise ship. In 1967, they took three of their children to Europe for a year, pulling the two youngest out of school to do so. After Cammie Ruth's death in 2014, Don continued to travel both on his own and with other family members as often as was possible. He will be long and well remembered by those who knew him: for his love of travel, his determination (occasionally to the point of obstinance!) to have things just as he wanted them, and his incessant and wholehearted enjoyment of life. To quote Cammie Ruth, just a few months before she died: "We've had a good run." ---------- Fulfilling his final wishes, Don's body was donated, for educational and research purposes, to Western Michigan University's Stryker School of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choosing.