T. Raymond Gregory, who led Gregory Galvanizing and brought the company to Canton, was buried Friday.
LAKE TWP. Family and friends paid final respects Friday to Stark County business leader and philanthropist T. Raymond Gregory, former chairman of Gregory Industries.
Gregory, 91, died Jan. 9 at his home in Congress Lake.
In 1957, Ray Gregory, who was born in Mineola, N.Y., opened the Gregory Galvanizing & Metal Processing operation in a factory in Canton's southwest section. The business was tied to the Thomas Gregory Galvanizing Works, based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Thomas Gregory was grandfather to Ray Gregory, and founded the business in 1896.
Ray Gregory saw Canton as a good place to establish a hot-dip galvanizing operation because of the city's ties to the steel industry, said Matthew Gregory, his grandson and current chief executive officer. The company installed what at that time was the largest kettle used in the process in the United States.
After establishing and growing operations in Canton, Gregory Galvanizing relocated its headquarters to the Canton area from Brooklyn in 1971. It's plant is located on 13th Street SW in Canton Township.
During the 1990s, Ray Gregory worked with his son, Stephen, to start the company's guardrail business as the company looked for products in the highway industry. "He was a big part of that," Matthew Gregory said of his grandfather.
While he no longer participated in daily operations, Ray Gregory kept track of company operations and would visit a few times a week, Matthew Gregory said.
"He was a great businessman," Matthew said. "He was always trying to find an opportunity. He always was trying to find what the market needed."
Ray Gregory was a member of the American Galvanizing Association and earned Hall of Fame honors for his contributions to the industry. He also was a member of the American Hot Dip Galvanizers Association, where he earned the President Award for innovation.
Ray Gregory also believed it was important to give back to the community, according to his grandson.
In the community, Gregory served on the board of the former Harter Bank and then Society Bank. He also served 30 years on the board of the North Canton Medical Foundation.
Gregory and his late wife, Virginia, were great supporters of Autman Hospital and the Aultman Foundation. Ray Gregory served more than 20 years on the Aultman Health Foundation board and was chairman from 1978 to 1980. After retiring from the board in 2002, Gregory continued to attending meetings as an honorary member.
Ed Roth, president and chief executive officer of the Aultman Health Foundation, said he considered Ray Gregory a mentor.
"He inspired me to mind the mission or our organization and encourage all members of the Aultman team to make a difference for others," Roth said. "I will miss Ray, but I'm thankful for his guidance and friendship over many years."
In 2012, Gregory and his family made a significant contribution to to the Gregory Family Training Center at Aultman. The center uses state-of-the-art technology to help education and train Aultman employees.
The family also supported the Aultman College of Nursing Endowed Scholarship in memory of Gregory's sister, Marjorie Phyllis Gregory, who was a nurse, as well as the annual Hospice Memory Tree and other programs.
"His invaluable service and commitment set an example for all of us to give back by serving on boards in our community," Roth said of Gregory.
Away from work, Gregory was an avid sailor, golfer and fisherman. He was a member of Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, both in New York, the Congress Lake Club, Rockwell Springs Trout Club, Anglers of the Au Sable, and Brookside Country Club.
Ray and Virginia, who died in 2009, sailed throughout the world together for more than 70 years. The couple were barely teenagers when they met in a sailing class in Long Island, and Virginia was Ray's instructor. They would race and take sailing trips. "That was one of the big joys in their life," Matthew Gregory said.
The Gregory family asks that any donations be made to the Aultman Cancer Center, care of the Aultman Foundation.
Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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