Mr Gray led colourful life
By ANDY PARKS email@example.com NOT many men turned down Kerry Packer, but Michael Gray arrived for a meeting with the late media magnate wearing a blue singlet, shorts and work boots and did just that.
“The way he told the story he was filthy, stinking and had this really wild hair,” Mr Gray’s eldest daughter Rachel said.
Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press wanted to buy out Gray’s Owners’ Own Catalogue, a national publication for people wanting to sell real estate without an agent.
Michael Gray had started the business in his Main Arm home and it became so successful Kerry Packer wanted to take it over.
“All the bedrooms in our house were being used as offices. Dad had about 10 people working for him and when I got home from school, there would be someone in the corner of my bedroom with a desk and a phone. When they finished, I would take over calling people,” Rachel said.
Mr Gray did eventually sell the business to ACP which enabled him to purchase real estate and pursue his passion for sailing.
Michael Gray, 60, was killed last Sunday when his motorbike hit a 4WD on Myocum Road near Mullumbimby. His 42-year-old girlfriend from Lennox Head was a passenger on the back of the bike and is still in Lismore Base Hospital with a broken pelvis and broken legs.
Michael Gray was described by his family as ‘a stirrer’ and ‘a real thrill-seeker’.
“He once sailed solo to New Zealand and back and across the top of Australia to Broome,” his elder brother Rob said. “He loved sailing up to the Whitsunday’s – Hamilton Island was his absolute favourite.”
Michael Gray first moved to the Northern Rivers 34 years ago when he was working as a surveyor on the Pacific Highway. He bought 30 hectares at Main Arm with old dairy bales on it and then subdivided and sold off 10 hectares.
“He built this brick monstrosity and a swimming pool,” Rachel said.
“It was always fast and hard with my dad. As a kid I remember going sailing with him when everyone else said we shouldn’t be going out because there were gale force winds. Everyone thought he was mad. He loved to shock people.”
Mr Gray was married three times and had five children, Rachel, Jodie, Simon, Ross (who is deceased) and Alex.
He grew up in North Parramatta with his brothers, Rob and Paul.
In Monday’s Northern Star police reported that Mr Gray was 50-years-old, when he was actually 60.
“He would have loved that,” Rachel said. “He always told his grandkids to call him Mike, or Uncle Mike. Not grandpa.”