Judiciary Mourns Loss of Former Chancellor Gray

May 28, 2019

Former Chancellor Tom E. Gray, age 77, of Hendersonville, passed away peacefully, on Sunday, May 26, 2019. He served as a chancellor in the 18th Judicial District, representing Sumner County, for more than 25 years and served on the bench for more than 32 years.

Chancellor Gray was born to the late George Gray and Adelle Jordan Gray, of Shelbyville, Tennessee.  After graduation from Central High School in Shelbyville, Tennessee, he attended Martin Methodist College for his associate‚Äôs degree, George Peabody College for his Bachelor and Masters of Arts, and then received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Nashville YMCA Law School. 

He began his career as a teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga, then Martin Methodist College where he served as Dean of Students from 1965-1970, then President from 1970 to 1974.  Then he moved to Gallatin to accept a position with Volunteer State Community College where he served as Dean of Students from 1974-1980.  In 1980 he began practicing law until 1982 when he became Judge for the Family Court for Sumner County.  In 1986 he became the Chancellor 18th Judicial District and served until his retirement in 2014. His portrait now hangs in the Sumner County Courthouse. 

He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Gallatin for over 30 years.  Later, he moved to the First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville and has remained active for the past 15 years. Tom was a very active member of the community, being a member of the Gallatin Noon Rotary Club where he served as past president and coordinated the committee for Christmas For Kids.  Trustee, at the Gallatin Public Library, Sumner County Public Records Commission, chair, Sumner County Historical Society, - past president, chair of By Laws, Rosemont Society, Bledsoe Lick Historical Society, Adjunct faculty Volunteer State Community College, Habitat for Humanity volunteer work activity, Volunteer State Community College Foundation, Sumner County Museum.

Chancellor Gray was greatly involved in the Sumner County Bar Association as an Instructor for CLE, and participated in educating student groups, churches, and assisted living homes on subjects of law.

He was also involved with the Tennessee Bar Association by serving on the Domestic Relations Code Committee, and Alimony Bench Book.

He was a member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference where he served on the committees of Education, Domestic Relations, Bench/Bar Relations, Technology, and as Treasurer and Secretary.

Chancellor Gray is survived by, wife, Janice S. Gray of Hendersonville; son, Sean C. Gray, and wife, Kassandra, of North Carolina; daughter, Shannon Gray Svoboda, of Gallatin; step-daughter, Monica Davis of Nashville, step-son, Montie Davis of Siegen, Germany; grandchildren, Trey Svoboda and Avery Svoboda of Gallatin; sister, Barbara June Klinstiver, and husband, Charles, of Lenoir City; brothers, Willis Gray of Lewisburg, Ed Gray and wife, Joan, of Shelbyville, and Bob Gray and wife, Eleanor, of San Antonio, Texas, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, George and Adelle Gray, Chancellor Gray is preceded in death by former wife, Christie Link Gray, and sister-in-law, Peggy Gray.

Funeral Service for Chancellor Gray will be held on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 1 P.M. at First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville with Randy Goodman and Joshua Strader officiating. Visitation with the family will be on Thursday, May 30, 2019 from 4-8 P.M. at First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville and again from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. before service time at First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville.

Read the full obituary.