Tribute to Exmouth actor and town businessman ‘Doug’ Gray
PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:00 10 November 2016
A tribute has been paid to ‘renaissance man’ Robert Douglas Gray who died last month.
Former merchant navy engineering officer ‘Doug’, of Albion Hill, was best known as a leading light for the Exmouth Players at the Blackmore Theatre.
His ‘happy and fulfilling’ life was celebrated at a reception at the Devoncourt resort, attended by his wife, Margaret, along with extended family and friends.
Brother-in-law Martin Gibson said: “He was most proud of some of the semi-professional productions he participated in, including his parts as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and Shylock in the Merchant of Venice at the Northcott and Barnfield theatres in Exeter.
“Despite poor health for the last six years, he remained optimistic, enjoying family life, his books and his model making up to the end – he was very proud of his children and grandchildren.”
Doug had lived in Exmouth since 1978, after moving to the region six years earlier to open a china and gifts shop in Dawlish.
He became a successful businessman, co-owning two care homes in the town – Ashfield Rest Home and Moriglen Nursing Home.
It is for his amateur dramatics that Doug is probably best remembered - a leading actor with the Exmouth Players.
In 1981, he received the Butlins Best Amateur Actor Award for the South West for his performance in the Secretary Bird.
Born an only child in 1937, Doug became an engineering officer in the merchant navy for the Blue Star Line in the late 1950s.
It was during his shore leave that he met his wife, Margaret Conway, who was an Irish nursing sister.
They married in 1961 and, shortly after their second son Neil was born in the late 1960s, Doug gave up his life at sea.
Doug is survived by his wife Margaret, two children, Stuart and Neil, six grandchildren and a great grandson.