Herbert Esser Gray

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Herbert Esser Gray

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Windsor, ON, Canada
Death: April 21, 2014 (82)
Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada (heart failure)
Place of Burial: Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Harry Gray and Fannie Gray
Husband of Sharon Sholzberg-Gray
Father of Private User and Jonathan Gray

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Herbert Esser Gray

Herbert Eser Gray, PC, CC, QC (born May 25, 1931) is a retired Canadian politician. He was Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister [1], and is one of only a few Canadians ever granted the title The Right Honourable who was not a Prime Minister.

Born in Windsor, Ontario, the son of Harry and Fannie Gray, Gray attended Victoria School and Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor[1] before receiving a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1952 from McGill University[2]. He then attended Osgoode Hall Law School where he received a Bachelor of Laws degree. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.[3] On July 23, 1967, Gray married lawyer Sharon Sholzberg, with whom he has two children: Jonathan David and Elizabeth Anne.[1]

Politics

He was first elected to Parliament for the riding of Essex West on June 18, 1962, as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was re-elected in twelve subsequent federal elections, making him the longest continuously-serving Member of Parliament in Canadian history.[4]

Gray served in a variety of roles during his parliamentary career, including cabinet ministries and committee chairmanships during the Liberal governments of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, and as Opposition House Leader from 1984 to 1990.

From February 6, 1990 to December 21, 1990, he was Leader of the Opposition, between the resignation of John Turner as Liberal leader and the election to Parliament of his successor, Jean Chrétien.

Statue in Windsor.

When the Liberals returned to power after the 1993 election, Gray was appointed Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada. On June 11, 1997, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

Gray also retained an interest in provincial politics in the Windsor area. In 1996, he was named as honorary co-chair of Dwight Duncan's bid to the lead the provincial Liberal Party. (Windsor Star, 26 June 1996) Duncan had previously worked in Gray's office.

[edit] Retirement

Gray retired from Parliament on January 14, 2002, and was appointed Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission, a bilateral organization which deals with Canada-United States transboundary issues on water and air rights.

On November 28, 2008, Carleton University announced that Gray had been appointed as the university's 10th chancellor.[5]

[edit] Honours

On January 15, 2002 the Governor General of Canada granted Gray the title "The Right Honourable", in honour of his distinguished and record-setting contribution to Canadian political life. In 2003, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, a designation which can be bestowed on only 165 outstanding Canadians at any given time, in recognition of being "an enduring force in Canadian politics".[6] He is a recipient of the Canadian Centennial Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Windsor, Assumption University (Windsor), Catholic University of Lublin (Poland), McGill University, and the University of Ottawa, and Hebrew Union College.

He passed away peacefully in Ottawa on April 21, 2014 and is survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharon Sholzberg-Gray, son, Dr. Jonathan Gray (Dr. Rachel Gray), daughter, Elizabeth Gray-Smith (James Smith) and 8 grandchildren, Levana, Ziva, Batsheva, Ezra, Ovadya, and Raphael Gray, and Molly and Lauren Smith. His funeral on April 25th, 2014 at Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa was attended by the Governor General of Canada, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, 4 former Prime Ministers, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, numerous other dignitaries, and numerous tributes were paid to him in the press for his years of exemplary public service to Canadians. Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka presided over the funeral and cantorial singing was done by Shimon Fogel.

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Herbert Esser Gray's Timeline

1931
May 25, 1931
Windsor, ON, Canada
2014
April 21, 2014
Age 82
Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada
April 25, 2014
Age 82
Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada