Robert E. Gray graduated from Ambridge High School in Pittsburg, PA. He later attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he attained a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. He furthered his education by receiving a Masters and Doctorate of Music from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
He served in the United States Navy as Musician First Class. Many remember him as the trombone professor and Director of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Gray was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Champaign where he served as the music director. He was also a member of Musician’s Union #196 and the College Band Directors Association. He was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Muskingum College and the Neil Humfeld Lifetime Teaching Award from the International Trombone Association.
Dr. Gray was one of the charter members in the Bandmasters Hall of Fame when it was established in 1984. In 1986 he was recognized with the Outstanding Bandmaster Award.
Dr. Gray died September 30, 2008, in Urbana, Illinois at the age of 82. He is survived by a son, Dana, a daughter, Alexis, and five grandchildren.