Earnest Garland Gray, Jr went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 29, 2022, in Fortuna at the age of 90. At the end of his life he put his trust in Jesus.

Earnie was born September 10, 1932, in Omaha, Nebraska. His family moved west to California when he was a young boy. Earnie grew up at Richardson Grove State Park, where his father was a Park Ranger. Earnie would often tell the story of how he collected soda bottles along Highway 101 and earned enough money to purchase a trumpet. He could occasionally be found playing his trumpet in the bars of Garberville, when live music was all the rage.

He graduated high school from Leggett Valley High School and went on to Santa Rosa Junior College. While at Santa Rosa Junior College he met his first wife, Ruth Hague. After the JC, he attended San Jose State and graduated with a degree in Business. Ruth and Earnie now had four children and in 1964 moved to Eureka where Earnie began a long career providing insurance services, mainly to loggers and truckers. In 1973, he was chairman of the committee to build the stadium at College of the Redwoods.

Earnie was a member of Kiwanis Club, Ingomar Club, Baywood Golf and Country Club, and was a founding member of Humboldt Bank. He had a pilot’s license and owned several small planes throughout the years. Earnie took great joy in buying and trading vehicles, from Jaguar Roadsters to De Loreans, every vehicle was kept washed and polished. Earnie enjoyed time at Trinity Lake, racing motocross, water skiing, snow skiing, and hunting with the family. In 1985 he married his second wife Judy. Modeling an excellent work ethic, he eventually retired from the insurance world.

In 1995 he and Judy set off in their RV to discover all that America had to show them. They would winter in Arizona, summer in Wyoming, and went everywhere else in spring and fall. They had a great group of friends with whom they traveled. At the age of 86, Earnie and Judy came back to Humboldt County and settled in Fortuna, to be closer to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He could often be found on the sidelines of soccer, baseball, basketball, or whatever the kids were playing. He loved his family dearly and was always there for them. He instilled a love of motorcycles and boating in all of his family. He will be remembered for his love, wisdom, humor, and generosity.

Earnie was preceded in death by his father and mother, Earnest Garland Gray, Sr and Irene Gray, his sister Beverly, and by his beloved son Gerald Gray.

Earnie is survived by his wife Judy; daughter Laura (Mark) Butler, son James (Melody) Gray, son Andrew (Darcy) Gray and their children and grandchildren: Ben (Emily) Mark and David Butler, Mary (Caleb) Rosemary, Heather, Gunnar and Garrison, Samuel Butler, Luke Butler, Susanna (Kenan) Jacob and Ascher O’Hanen; Josh(Magen), Jaxon and Travis Gray, Sarah (Sydny), Ellouise and Everleigh Williams, Hannah (Kyle) Sheehy; Jesse (Leah) Gray, Cody (Jamie) Gray, Chelsea (Brandon) and Andrew Lende, and Jimmy Gray.

Earnie was interred at Ocean View Cemetery in Eureka. A memorial service will be held at Grace Baptist Church in Eureka on March 4, at 2 p.m.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Earnie Gray’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.