One of Vail's finest and friend to all passed away March 20 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hadley Gray had suffered a series of strokes the past eight months and resided at Emory Bennett Veteran Home until his death. He was predeceased by his parents, Hadley and Mary Gray, along with his identical twin brother, Howard. Hadley is survived by his nephew, Christopher, along with many, many friends worldwide. Hadley's life was full of kindness, generosity and mentoring. Always there for support and advice - along with coffee! Friendships were what meant the most to Hadley.
Born and raised in Springfield, Mass., Hadley joined the U.S. Navy upon high-school graduation. After one year of active duty, he returned to the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in business. His early career was in insurance, headquartered in Springfield. An opportunity became available with the company in California, so Hadley quickly moved to Los Angeles along with Howard. The company created an advertisement featuring the twin brothers. The taste of Hollywood hit them both. They continue to pursue the "Hollywood opportunities" for a few years and were casted in some small roles. For a complete career change, it was off to Mammoth Mountain to be a ticket checker in 1959; however, ski instructors were badly needed ,thus Hadley was quickly hired - no experience. Training was a half day, then he was put on beginner classes for the remainder of the ski season. Hadley's skiing ability came easy and his wonderful personality made him a top Mammoth ski instructor. He was talked into going to France to become French certified prior to his last season at Mammoth. In 1967, Vail Associates was recruiting ski instructors, thus Hadley was a top candidate. Off he moved to Vail to begin his inspiring 40-plus-year career with the Vail Ski School. Vail Associates realized Hadley's management talents and promoted him to supervisor, later to be a manager. The last five years that Hadley spent with ski school, he went back to his love of teaching.
Summers were Hadley's time to pursue his other interest - traveling. He traveled to New Zealand and Chile with the knowledge of having a ski instructing position waiting. In his later years, Hadley spent summer in Florida. A few of his fun summers were spent here in Vail, bartending at Donovan's Copper Bar and his daily runs through the Vail Golf Course. Once Hadley fully retired in 2005, his travels took him to Thailand, China, Vietnam and Japan.
Per Hadley's request, he was cremated. Part of his ashes were spread in to the Atlantic on March 28 and the remaining ashes will be brought back to Vail. A "Hadley celebration" will be held in early June.