Remembrances of Noah Gray, Longest Serving Superintendent in the Lindbergh School District
A scholarship in Mr. Gray's honor is being planned
Noah E. Gray, one of the most well-known figures in Lindbergh School District history was laid to rest Thursday in Sunset Cemetery on Gravois after passing Sunday Dec. 26. Contributions have already started coming in to the Lindbergh Foundation for a scholarship in his honor.
The Lindbergh School District was formed in 1949 with David Punch as first superintendent of schools. Six years later in 1955, Mr. Gray was appointed to the position that he held until 1980 when he retired. Mr. Gray's 25-year tenure was the longest in district history. James Sandfort retired in 2008 after 17 years as superintendent.
"He (Gray) was the big man," said Concord School pre-kindergarden teacher Barbara Mikusch, whose mother Roberta Struckmeyer taught fourth grade at Sappington School in the district for 30 years. "Everybody knew him. Think about it, he was there so long and look how big the district was back then: nine elementary schools and two middle schools. It was the baby-boom years."
The district grew from less than 1,000 students when he started to more than 12,000 in the 1970s when Gray was still there.
"He was a really nice man, always had a smile on his face and a quick laugh," said Greg Richter, a student in the mid-1970s, and was a neighbor of Gray's. "I cannot tell you the number of times I missed my bus and he gave me a ride to school. I also know he was picking my brain to get a feel of what was going on at school."
Students have their own special memories of Gray including the fact that he was known to not cancel school readily because of weather. One student recalled how he went to the point of ice skating on Gray's driveway to try to convince him it was too slick to have school.
"On night we had a lot of sleet and ice skated on his driveway the night before he called school off," said Richter. "He came out and watched us. He was cracking up! On the surface a very quiet guy but really a very nice engaging man."
After his retirement Gray was still active and would be seen up at the Crestwood Community Center working out in the work-out room.
"He was my mother's boss," said Mikush. "But more than that he was a very well-respected man. We looked up to him. He was a great man and a great leader."
Mr. Gray is survived by his of 64 years to Frieda Gray (nee Shell), two daughters, Renauta (Patrick) Sullivan and Beverly (Ramiro) Perez; four grandchildren, Elissa (Marc), Lauren (Darin), Clayton (Yayle) and Cara; two great-grandchildren, Max and Brayden; one sister, Penny Duniphan; and nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to Lindbergh School District Foundation in memory of Noah E. Gray are appreciated.