Nicholas Gray July 27, 1947 – April 15, 2022
It is with great sadness that we announce that much loved Nicholas Browse Gray passed away peacefully, at home, and with his family by his side, on April 15, 2022, at 74 years of age. Nicholas endured a six-month battle with cancer with bravery and stoicism, as was his way. He fought valiantly until the end.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 31 years, Debbie Mabin; children Sarah and Douglas; sisters Susan (Franco Viotti) and Louise (Michael Minnaar); cousins Janette, Charles and James Schelpe, nieces and nephews Simon, Richard and Robert Minnaar as well as Daniela (Hutton-Squire) and Marco Viotti. He will also be sadly missed by numerous friends.
Nicholas was predeceased by his father Douglas Wagner Gray, mother Helen “Nell” Doreen Gray, step-mother Anne Gray, and beloved aunts Sybella Schelpe and Patricia Abernethy.
Nicholas was born in Paarl South Africa and spent his early years living on the wine and fruit farm Plaisir de Merle. From an early age he assisted his mother in calculating the cash only wages for the farm workers, working out the coinage involved, and finalizing the paystubs. The family remained at Plaisir de Merle until they sold the wine estate and moved to the farm Knorhoek, also near Cape Town.
Nicholas initially attended a local “farm school” where there were few school rooms and few teachers. He was the only English-speaking student as all the other students were Afrikaans-speaking. He then attended Bishops Diocesan College from 1958 to 1965, including a post Matriculation (equivalent to Canadian High School Graduation) year. He then attended the University of Cape Town from 1966 to 1971 and attained a Batcheler of Science, majoring in mathematics. He worked at Old Mutual 1969 to 1971 after which he returned to full time studies, then worked from 1972 to 1979 at Norwich Union followed by Metropolitan Life from 1979 to 1993. He was a part time actuarial student during these periods of work.
Volunteering was an important part of Nicholas’ life. He was a member of Table Bay Rotors from 1972 to 1979, serving terms as treasurer and president. The Rotors club sadly disbanded, but Nicholas made lifelong friends from his time there. While in Canada, Nicholas joined the Lions Club both in Thompson and The Pas. He was president of the Lions Club in The Pas 1998 and 1999. Following this, Nicholas volunteered for The Pas Skating Club for several years and was treasurer for this club for some time. He then was heavily involved in volunteering for The Pas Music and Fine Arts Festival from 2010 to 2018.
Nicholas had wide interests including music, wine tasting, reading, travel, theater, ballet, and photography. Nicholas attended “residential” on-site wine tasting courses in Germany and France from 1975 onwards. Nicholas played squash for sport and had a keen interest in cricket, being a member of the Western Province Cricket Club in Cape Town. His family remember him attending cricket matches with a comfortable cushion in one hand and a Time magazine in the other hand. Indeed, Nicholas never went anywhere without something to read, although more recently, Time had been replaced with National Geographic or a computer magazine.
Nicholas and Debbie were married in Cape Town in 1991 and two years later emigrated to Canada, initially living in Thompson, Manitoba. After a few years, Nicholas and Debbie moved to The Pas, Manitoba, where they welcomed both their children into their lives. Nicholas and Debbie moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2018.
Following Nicholas’ wishes, cremation has taken place with and internment at Thompson In The Park, Winnipeg will occur later.
Special thanks go out to Dr. Abraham Mare, the Palliative Care team, the Home Care team, CancerCare Manitoba, the Right At Home team, and numerous special family friends and relatives.
A Celebration of Life was held on April 25, 2022, at Thompson “In The Park”, Winnipeg. The service was recorded and can be viewed on https://youtu.be/ywo5A4rUo6M
Donations may be made in Nicholas’ memory a charity of your choice or to:
The Pas Arts Council
THE PAS, MB, R9A 1L2
THE PAS, MB, R9A 1L2
Westminster United Church
PO BOX 25
THE PAS, MB, R9A 1K3
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nicholas Gray, please visit our floral store.