Forrest Gray, age 44, passed away March 15, 2022.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Denise Gray; maternal grandparents, Marie and William (‘Red’) Archbold; and paternal grandparents, Dora Deen and Joe Gray. He is survived by his father, Gerald “Jerry” Lee Gray of Clintwood, VA; sister Jessica Gray (Nicole Follmer) of Cambridge, MA and extended family.
Forrest was born in Whitesburg, KY, and grew up in Clintwood, VA, until he left for Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. After college, Forrest lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was most recently living in Detroit, MI. Forrest loved the woods, but also flourished in the city. He has called Ohio, New York, Wisconsin and Florida home for periods of time but also all the roads in between. His van, Vanielle, took him to 48 states for art, music and exploration and was his trustworthy companion for many years. His life revolved around travel, his music, and his friends.
In addition to his music, Forrest was extremely proud of his work as a sound engineer recording in the gold mines of Colombia for an art installation that he also helped install at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Over the years he had also established an independent art handling company that worked primarily with galleries in New York City, and more recently the Detroit area and the Midwest. A highlight for him each year was the international Art Basel show in Miami where he would work and also reunite with friends.
Forrest was a talented musician and could play any instrument he picked up – beginning with the drums in high school band. Later he added acoustic & electric guitar, keyboards and synthesizer. He was always listening for and creating sounds for recordings. Forrest enjoyed and played a self-described eclectic mix of musical styles ranging from simple folk songs to noise, tape loops, metal, free jazz, garage rock, Americana, rock n’ roll, spoken word, documentary recording and synthesized soundscapes. His many bands and projects reflected these interests and were equally eclectic.
Forrest felt things deeply and was driven to share these feelings — through poetry, through music and through human connections. He was always trying to express himself and was curious about everything. Forrest was always looking for some deeper connection and was willing to bare all. Even through the tough times he loved life. He wanted everyone to embrace life always – to appreciate each other and our time together. His warmth, his free-spiritedness, his unfiltered nature, with his heart on his sleeve, drew people to Forrest. He made friends easily, everywhere he went. Many called him friend upon their first meeting. And he was always excited to tell you what he had been working on and who he had met — and why they were awesome too. Many of these friends he considered family.
Forrest will be remembered for his smile, his generous heart and soul, his incredible talent, his music, and his friendships.
The family will receive friends Friday, March 25, 2022, from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. at Mullins Funeral Home Chapel. A Celebration of Life Service will be held beginning at 2:00 p.m. Friends will share memories and music will be played. Following the service, refreshments will be served at the Clintwood Baptist Church across the street.
Mullins Funeral Home and Staff are serving the Gray family. Online condolences may be made online at Mullins Funeral Home in Clintwood, VA.