Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dr. William M. Gray. Obituary and My Thoughts on His Passing...

Obituary for Dr. William M. Gray is below.

Spoiler alert...the M is for Mason.

I can't believe I mentioned him on Friday in my last post.
It's amazing we don't mention him more.
His name was synonymous with tropical meteorology.

So much to say about William Gray that it's hard to know where to begin. So, I'll just jump in with some random thoughts and memories. I checked my phone tonight for email and the first thing I saw was an email sent out by Jim Williams commenting on the death "of a legendary hurricane forecaster..." was all I could see on my cell phone but I knew it had to be William Gray. Sad really doesn't cut it... reflective.... remembering... amazed at the life he led and the number of lives he taught, touched and influenced in our field. He may have been the team captain but he loved his teams.. both weather wise and sports wise.

Back in 2006 I got to meet Dr. Gray up close and personal at a conference in commemoration of 50 years of Hurricane Research. Back before we did selfies or uploaded pictures in real time to Twitter. Not so long ago, but long enough that all I have are memories and a really nice mug I use during hurricane season with the 50th anniversary image shown below. Over time I got to see him speak ... but the first time I saw him.. met him.... all I could think of was how he was so larger than life in all ways... okay...  he towered over me as I'm short even in high heels but really he was huge in charisma. He was one of the most alive, natural people I've met in many ways.

My post from way back ten years ago is below.

There they are my rambling out of breath thoughts from 2006. 
Everything I said was true. Wow... doesn't cut it trust me.

You see as the blog post says... I was invited to a private sort of gathering where he was speaking before his friends, not the media and just telling it like it was... is... that was his style. Before he spoke he was speaking with my friend about how various friends were and you could see the care and concern he had for many who were older than him who weren't quite online the way he was ...  Some had passed on and you could see the sadness in his eyes, some weren't as active online and you could see his frustration he had to call them on the phone. He was one of the youngest older people I have ever met. Young, vital, funny, whimsical, brilliant, stubborn and compelling. The list could go on and on.... and on...  Whether discussing the old days when they were studying cloud seeding or Project Storm Fury or talking on his students or his protege Phil Klotzbach you could see the importance of friendship in his life. The man was so full of life and yet he was laid back, funny and natural. To watch him speak was a joy. That man loved clouds, maps, graphs, data and everyone he ever worked with be it a student or a fellow scientist. As I said calling them to wish them Happy Birthday or asking them how they were and why weren't they online ... checking in on them to make sure they were okay. What a man... so hard to describe but I'll try..

Oh his eyes... they sparkled and glowed when he spoke.

Oh his hands... he spoke with this hands.
His hands cut into the air....
.... for punctuation purposes when he explained things.

Oh his shirts... bright sky blue and passionate purple.

Oh his love of his students, friends and tropical meteorology family.

Oh his love of his colleagues and his work.

Oh so many people missing and mourning him today.

You put his name into a Google Search and you find his life.

You find his students and co-workers...

Really not much I can say more so I'll leave you with Dr. Gray.

Oh his ability to speak....

To defend his views, to express his ideas and to educate others.

In 2011 he spoke with Jim Williams from Hurricane City.

Jim was there with Bill Phillips and Derek Sibley.

And yes Dr. Gray explained, defended and spoke on his own views.
As always he was thinking about the future.

It's hard to imagine a future without Dr. Gray.
It's hard to imagine a Hurricane Season without Dr. Gray.

He left behind a wealth of knowledge 

A wealth of warm memories.

This was posted by Dr. Phil Klotzbach on Twitter.
It made me smile despite feeling sad.
So I'm sharing it with you all.

I'm posting a link to an article that's worth reading.
Some good memories and explanations on who is who in meteorology.

It's a good read so please read it.

It has tender, cute tidbits that might make you smile.
Like this...

I will so miss Dr. Bill Gray. Thankful I got to meet him, spend time with him and get to know him. You really haven't lived until you stop yourself from bumping into Dr. Bob Burpee (past Director of the NHC) while he's trying to grab a pastry by falling back into Dr. Gray who looks down at you and laughs. Yeah it was a great conference and listening to Dr. Gray speak was priceless.

I'll end this with how I started Friday's post.
Because his legacy is his what he has left us... 
...a generation of tropical meteorology scientists. 

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Hurricane Forecast.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps. For more information on where to make donations or to read more this link will update info.


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