March 15, 2016
Communications and Marketing
The Rev. Jude John Gray, O.S.B., 81, a beloved Benedictine monk and priest at Saint Anselm Abbey, Goffstown, for more than 50 years, as well as an educator, coach and vintage automobile restoration enthusiast, died Monday, March 14, 2016, at Saint Teresa's Nursing Home, Manchester, after more than a year of declining health.
Born Oct. 18, 1934, in Kearny, N.J., he was the son of Daniel Leo and Josephine Marie (Miller) Gray. He was graduated from Saint Cecilia High School, where he was a member of the baseball, soccer and basketball teams for all four years, and served as a class officer and school newspaper editor.
He went on to attend Montclair State College in New Jersey, where he earned his B.A. degree in English and physical education in 1956. From 1956 to 1962, he taught English at North Arlington (N.J.) High School. He also coached soccer at Farleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, and Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, both in New Jersey.
A fine athlete in high school and college, Father Jude signed a professional baseball contract and played three seasons in the Florida State League with the Cleveland Indians organization.
Father Jude entered Saint Anselm Abbey's novitiate in 1963 and pronounced simple vows on July 11, 1965, followed by solemn, or lifelong, vows on July 2, 1968. He was ordained a deacon three days later, then ordained a priest in Saint Anselm Abbey Church on July 6, 1968, by the Most Rev. Ernest J. Primeau, S.T.D., late bishop of Manchester. Father Jude prepared for the priesthood in the abbey seminary.
He pursued graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, and he earned a M.A. degree in public speaking from Emerson College, Boston, in 1973.
Most of his teaching career was spent instructing students in public speaking, oral interpretation of literature and related topics in the Department of English at Saint Anselm from 1965 until his retirement in 2000. From 1977 to 1979, he served as headmaster of Woodside Priory School, Portola Valley, Calif. Woodside is a Benedictine preparatory school for which Saint Anselm assumed responsibility in 1976.
Over the years, Father Jude held a number of positions in the monastery, including service as infirmarian and speech instructor for lectors and preachers. He was much appreciated as a bread baker and all-round chef.
In the college, he served as chaplain, residence director, dean of students and academic adviser to the men's basketball team.
Among Father Jude's many accomplishments was the foundation of the Saint Anselm College Classic Auto Society after his return from California. Under his direction, students helped restore dozens of vintage automobiles and other vehicles, beginning with a World War II-vintage Army Jeep, and then sold them to benefit the Thomas Sullivan Scholarship Fund to help students meet the cost of tuition. Seeing Father Jude driving around campus in a '38 Packard convertible, a classic Rolls Royce or his green 1930s Ford pickup truck was a common sight. In due course, the garage behind the physical plant complex where he worked on auto restorations was named "Father Jude Hall." It would welcome U.S. Congressmen, corporate executives, students in trouble with college and civil authorities, monks, auto parts dealers, faculty and staff, neighbors and friends of every description.
Through his activities in the classic car club, Father Jude befriended Robert F. Smith Sr., now retired president, chief executive officer and co-chief operating officer of American Express Bank Ltd. Smith and his wife, Miriam contributed significant funds used for the construction of Sullivan Arena, named after her father and home of the Saint Anselm College Hawk hockey teams. A plaque in the arena lobby, cites the biblical Book of Sirach, 6:14-17, and attests to Father Jude's friendship with Mr. Smith, and involvement in what was one of the largest financial gifts in the history of the college.
Father Jude, who enjoyed skiing, racquetball and sailing, was recognized as an outstanding athlete. He was named to Montclair State's Baseball Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in the return of baseball to Saint Anselm College and served as assistant coach for a time. He received the 1989 Saint Anselm Varsity Letter of Merit for his many athletic achievements.
In addition, he enjoyed opera, the symphony and theater. He helped organize the "Sheol" program in the 1970s for student music and dramatic performances in the Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm.
Over the years, he provided weekend Mass assistance to Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Laconia, and Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, North Conway.
He was pre-deceased by his parents and his brothers Daniel and Louis and his sister, Josephine.
Father Jude is survived by his monastic community, his brother Joseph in New Jersey, and several nieces and nephews.
Services & Donations
The monastic community will receive Father Jude's body during mid-day prayer Friday, March 18, at 12 noon in the choir area of the Abbey Church. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Saint Anselm community may call until 8 p.m. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Peter A. Libasci, D.D., bishop of Manchester, on Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m. The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Cooper, O.S.B., abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey, will deliver the homily. Burial will follow in Saint Leander's Cemetery on the campus.
Friends who wish may make donations in Father Jude's memory to the Rev. Jude Gray, O.S.B. Endowed Scholarship Fund, Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH, 03102.
Lambert Funeral Home, Manchester, is in charge of arrangements.