URBANA — Stanley Everts Gray, 94, of Urbana died Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at home.
Stanley (Stan) was a retired emeritus professor in the University of Illinois French Department, where he taught for 34 years.
Stan was born and spent his early years in Indianapolis. He was raised by his mother, Pauline (Polly) Gray Linthicum, whom he has credited with instilling his initial interest in all things French. He graduated from Shortridge High School in 1944.
Stan began studies at the University of Indiana under the Army Reserve Training Program before entering military service, which was spent in the Philippines and Japan. After discharge, Stan lived and worked on his family’s ranch in Stove Prairie, Colo., where he enthusiastically took up the “cowboy life” of a cattle rancher. During the summer, Stan and his stepfather, Lemuel “Dutch” Linthicum, ran the livery stable at the Brinwood Hotel in Rocky Mountain National Park, while his mother managed the hotel’s dining room. During these years, Stan competed in several rodeos, specializing in calf roping and bareback bronc riding events.
The GI Bill enabled Stan to enroll at the University of Colorado in 1948, where he honed his interest in the study of French, particularly French literature, and completed undergraduate work. It was here he met and married his wife, Lorraine Basich, and daughter Claudia was born.
In 1952, the family moved to Bloomington, Ind., where Stan continued graduate studies at the University of Indiana, leading to a Ph.D. A Fulbright scholarship enabled further study in Toulouse and Paris, France, in 1957.
In 1958, Stan was offered a teaching position at the University of Illinois and moved to Champaign-Urbana. It was here his second daughter, Abigail, was born. Stan remained at the UI until his retirement. In addition to teaching courses and seminars, principally in his field, 20th-century French literature, he directed Ph.D. dissertations and was a popular mentor of grad students.
Stan and Lorraine enjoyed spending part of every winter in Marco Island, Fla., as well as trips to Europe, but most of their vacation time was spent in Colorado. Until her death in 2010, he and Lorraine loved to hike, backpack, camp and especially fish; Stan was an avid fly fisherman who tied his own flies. Over the years, he hiked most of the trails and fished nearly every high mountain lake and stream in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stan continued to spend summer months in Colorado.
In later years, Stan found enjoyment in music (especially jazz), books, dining and good conversation with friends, Friday night poker games, and daily mastery of the New York Times crossword puzzle.
He is survived by his daughters, Claudia Gray Sweet and Abigail Gray; two grandchildren, River Finlay and Reed Finlay; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial is planned for the spring of 2022. Illiana Cremation Society is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be offered at illianacremationsociety.com.