Kenneth Don Gray

Kenneth Don Gray

March 10, 1936 — November 25, 2017

Kenneth Don Gray, 81, passed away Nov. 25, 2017 in Round Rock, Texas. Ken was born to Lewis and Estelle Gray on March 10, 1936, in San Saba, Texas.

Ken graduated from Llano High School in 1954 and married the love of his life, Shirley Jean Barber, in Cherokee, Texas, on May 24, 1952. He went on to attend Howard Payne University from 1954 to 1957, where he played football and earned All Lone Star Conference accolades and was named to the Little All-American Team. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Ken went on to be a sixth-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1958 and ultimately signed with the Chicago Cardinals that same year, playing through the 1959 season before the Cardinals relocated to St. Louis in 1960. He continued his NFL career, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960 to 1969, and ended with the Houston Oilers in 1970.

He was chosen by his Cardinal teammates to be team captain from 1963 to 1969, was selected to play in seven Pro Bowls, and was named to the All-Cardinals team. After his professional career, he coached the Llano High School Yellowjackets from 1973 to 1975. In 1977, Ken went back to his first love, professional football, when he became the offensive line coach for the Denver Broncos for the 1977 – 1978 seasons, in which he coached the offensive line in Super Bowl XII against the Dallas Cowboys.

While playing football in the NFL, he also ran 3G Hog Farm with his father, Lewis, and brother, Charles, from 1966 through 1982, as well as Ken Gray Pork Producers. His high school coaching career also included coaching the Rockdale Tigers from 1986 through 1988. He finished his teaching career with Burnet and Llano ISDs. In 2016, Ken was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Ken was preceded in death by his father, Lewis Daniel Gray; mother, Zella Estelle Gray; and brothers, Jerry Gray and Charles Michael Gray. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley Jean Barber Gray. He is also survived by daughter Vickie Wooten of Llano; daughter Sherry Gray Fikes and husband Elliott of Kingsland; son Boyd and wife Caressa of Round Mountain; son Shane and wife Lori of Llano; nephew Randy Gray and wife Janelle of Cherokee; and nephew Mike Gray and Jewel Early of Llano. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Visitation was held Tuesday, Nov. 28. A funeral service was held at Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Chapel Wednesday, Nov. 29, with Shane Gray and Boyd Gray officiating. Interment followed at Cherokee Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Howard Payne University Jacket Century Football, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804.

Funeral arrangements made under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Homes Inc., Llano. E-mail condolences may be sent to whhfuneral1@verizon.net.

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