PLEASANT VIEW — The family of a man who drowned last year while saving his sister is holding a basketball memorial tournament to raise funds for a scholarship in his name.
The Greg Gray memorial art scholarship will be given to an art student at Weber High School to help pay for college. The basketball tournament will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the high school.
There is no charge, but donations are welcome. There will be a concession stand, T-shirts and wristbands with Greg’s favorite slogan, “Do the hard thing.”
Gray took his then-16-year-old sister Jaycee fishing on July 23, 2011. She slipped and fell into the water on the Blacksmith Fork River while trying to cross near a spillway. Gray was able to save Jaycee, but lost his own life. He was just 22.
Before his death, Gray had served a mission to Portland, Ore., for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and returned to attend Dixie College, where he earned a full-ride scholarship in art. However, that Christmas he came home and told his parents he didn’t wish to return.
“He said he felt like he needed to be with his family,” said his mother, JeriAnn. “He had also talked about having a feeling that he wasn’t going to live a long life. We are really glad he stayed home with us because that gave us more time to be with him.”
JeriAnn said her son was a talented artist.
He was the 2008 state winner of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition, as well as the art Sterling Scholar winner his senior year. He also played basketball in junior high and high school, so his family decided to combine art and basketball as a way to remember Gray.
“We decided, because he loved to play basketball, we would hold a tournament to help kick this off to raise funds. Right now, we don’t have a set amount, but we hope it will grow through the years,” JeriAnn said. “Because he was such a talented artist, we wanted to give another student from his high school the same opportunity of earning a scholarship.”
JeriAnn said Greg’s love of art was an inspiration to his brother, Brad, and to Jaycee.
Brad won the state duck stamp competition last year, and Jaycee won in 2010 and again this year.
“His father, Steve, does architectural renderings, and I have been involved in watercolors, but he had some wonderful teachers whom he admired greatly,” JeriAnn said. “Diane Ballam, Joan McKinnie and Darren Wilding really helped him for a great love for art.”
The tournament will run each day through Friday at the high school, 3650 N. 500 West.
On Friday during half-time, Jaycee will perform a dance as a tribute to her brother to the tune of his favorite song, “If I Die Young.” An account to donate to the scholarship has been set up at any America First Credit Union under the name Greg Gray Memorial Fund.