WINCHESTER – Stalwart village veterinarian Larry Gray, who also guided Winchester through some of its formative years as reeve, has died.

According to his obituary, Gray died peacefully at home on Fri., Feb. 2. He was 86.

In 2014, he was celebrated following the completion of 60 years as a veterinarian, the bulk of that time spent in Winchester.

He was feted at the village’s Lions Hall, with friends, family and longtime clients toasting the man known as nothing more than “Doc.”

Longtime village veterinarian Larry Gray died Fri., Feb. 2. He’s pictured here in this 2005 Winchester Press file photo alongside his loving St. Bernard, Max.

Located in the west end of Winchester, Gray’s practice became an institution in the region, after getting its start in the late 1950s. Having just recently graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College, Gray first began his career in Nova Scotia before making the return to Eastern Ontario in the fall of 1956.
At the time, Sterling Dawley, the vet in Winchester, was leaving for the U.S., and there was a key vacancy to be filled. Gray read about the opening in a veterinary association journal, and soon took over the long-running village clinic.

From there, he immersed himself in the village, being elected reeve of Winchester’s town council in 1977, a job he held for nearly two decades.

“I don’t know how official I was, but we tried,” Gray joked with the Winchester Press a few years ago.

Aside from his time in office, both political and medical, Gray served many years as a village Scout leader, championed construction of the Nor-Dun Seniors’ Support Centre, and was a key contributor to Winchester’s 1988 centennial celebration.

Beyond the physical location of his clinic, just next door to the entrance to the Joel Steele Communtiy Centre on Main Street, which will forever be tied to Gray, there are two other tributes to the favoured veterinarian in Winchester. One is an oak tree planted in the 100 Club Park and the other is an inscribed stone, honouring his 60 years of practice, in Sweet Corner Park.

Gray is survived by his partner, Linda St-Onge, and children, Debi, Bruce, Sandra, Christine, and Brenda. He was predeceased by his wife, Catharine.

A celebration of the good doctor’s life is set for Sat., Feb. 10, from 1 to 4 pm, at the Mountain Township Agricultural Society Hall in South Mountain.