[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 52 (Wednesday, May 4, 1994)]
[Page S]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: May 4, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I have had many instances on the floor of 
the Senate when I had an opportunity to talk about things of great joy, 
great pleasure, and accomplishment. Today is not one of them.
  I rise today to speak on the memory of a person that I have known 
most of my adult life, a man who died in March, a very, very good 
friend, Bill Gray.
  Much was written in the Vermont newspapers about William Barton Gray, 
and so much of it was true about him. In many ways, it did not begin to 
touch the real person.
  I think of the cold spring Vermont day. The night before we had a 
light dusting of snow, and that day dawned clear and crisp with the Sun 
shining, as so many of us, his friends and his family, walked up Church 
Street in Burlington to the Unitarian Church to say final farewells to 
  I think it was his good friend, Jerry O'Neill, with whom he had 
practiced law, who talked about his background as a lawyer and as a 
prosecutor and as a friend. So many of us addressed him personally from 
the pulpit of the church, which brought so many memories back.
  His very good friend, Nick Littlefield, who I have the honor of 
having with me today on the Senate floor, spoke also of his 
reminiscences and his friendship. He brought together a picture of Bill 
Gray that those of us who knew him recognized, and those who had not 
had the opportunity to know him had to understand the regret that they 
would have in not having known such a great person.
  The pastor spoke of his love of animals, his raising of sheep. He 
spoke of a renaissance man who spoke different languages, traveled the 
world, well educated, a brilliant lawyer, a former prosecutor; that he 
would go back to his home in Vermont and raise apples and sheep and 
tend the land and be the kind of steward of the land that the Lord has 
commended all of us to be.
  And I thought after Reverend Anderson spoke that way, I thought of 
what Oliver Wendell Holmes said, in speaking of his own life. He said, 
``These little fragments of my fleece that I have left upon the hedges 
of life.'' As we spoke to Sarah, Bill's wonderful wife, a person who 
was a tower of strength in his last illness and really a model for all 
of us, a wonderful human being; his son, Josh; his daughter, Sasha; his 
father, his sister, and everybody who was in the church, I thought we 
were all going to speak of the little fragments of his fleece that he 
had left upon the hedges of life.
  But I know that you could not speak just in that one clear spring day 
of his life, you would have to spend months and you would begin to just 
touch it.
  So I want to talk about it, because we celebrated a life. We did 
mourn a death, but we celebrated a life--a life of a friend of a 
quarter of a century.
  I remember when we served as young prosecutors together, he in the 
U.S. attorney's office and I as State's attorney in Chittenden County. 
Later he went on to the Department of Justice, carving a legacy in the 
Department as a prosecutor's prosecutor, one of the best. And then, 
when President Carter was elected, I remember talking to Bill and 
saying, ``Please come home to Vermont''--he was a native Vermonter--
``come home to Vermont and be our U.S. attorney.'' And he did and 
served with distinction as the best U.S. attorney anybody could 
  In 1986, Mr. President, when I was up for reelection in what was 
going to be the most difficult election of my life, Bill Gray left his 
practice and spent a year as a volunteer to run my campaign. But it was 
more than just running my campaign. He was my counselor, he was my 
mentor, he was my friend on sunny and dark days.
  I think of the number of times, Mr. President, that we sat on the 
steps of my farmhouse in Middlesex, VT. We talked of the campaign, but 
we talked about so many other things. We talked about our children, of 
our families, of life.
  He was my friend on the sunny days, but also the dark days. The 
darkest, of course, was the day he came and told Marcelle and me of 
this illness that was striking him at far too young an age, far too 
young an age for anyone. And even then, I remember, as we heard the 
news, he was there trying to cheer us up.
  In some ways, during those last years of his illness, we became 
closer, if that is possible. We talked of life and family and friends 
and values. And we had so many different stories, the two of us.
  I told at his memorial service about going to Rutland, VT, in my 1992 
election. He had called and had just received particularly bad news 
from the doctors. His cancer had gone out of remission and he wanted to 
talk with me. He said, ``I know Marcelle has been driving you during 
this campaign. Why don't I just come and drive with you and we will 
spend the day together?'' And we did. We drove down to Rutland, which 
is in the southern part of our State, and we talked of life and death 
and what a cruel fate he had been dealt.
  And coming back, it was interesting. He was such a wonderful friend. 
This man could hike, and he could sail and swim and do virtually 
everything better than anybody else, except one thing. As I told his 
family and friends assembled, he was a terrible driver.
  As we were driving up this twisty, narrow road, up through the 
mountains of Vermont, I said, ``Bill, you are talking about death in 
the abstract and I am afraid that death may be a lot more concrete the 
way you are driving.'' I said, ``Let's pull off.'' And we did. On the 
side of the road, the two of us were hanging on to each other and 
laughing about the irreverence of our conversation.
  I also suggested what somebody might have said had they recognized a 
former U.S. attorney and the incumbent Senator and candidate for 
reelection hanging on to each other by the side of the road laughing 
our heads off.
  I, also, Mr. President, incidentally, drove the rest of the way back.
  After that, Mr. President, he actually got better. His cancer went 
into remission and we had great hope. And then President Clinton was 
elected. And Bill, who had been this wonderful prosecutor and lawyer, 
had one thing I think he always wanted to be, and that would be a 
Federal judge. And we had a vacancy in the second circuit of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals, the so-called Vermont seat; the one seat Vermont has 
always filled with distinction, with two chief justices in the second 
circuit, Sterry Waterman and James L. Oakes.
  I talked with Bill about that. He had the unanimous recommendation of 
everybody in the bar for that seat. I went to the President and asked 
if he would appoint Bill Gray to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 
Second Circuit, and the President said yes. And we began the process of 
the background that the Presiding Officer knows so well, all going very 
well, and the cancer struck again.
  And President Clinton, to his credit, said, ``Well, let's just hold 
up and see what happens.'' There was no pressure from the White House 
to bring another name.
  We went through this time with Bill. There was no question he was 
going to go on the second court of appeals. He would have been a 
renaissance man on that court. It would have done so much for the court 
and for our State and, I believe, for our country.
  But, as the fall leaves fell and the snows came, it became more 
apparent this might not happen. When Bill went through his final 
illness, again we talked as only dear friends could. His friends 
gathered around him, the greatest friend, of course, being his 
wonderful wife Sarah. Everybody should be blessed by having somebody 
who would care so deeply as she did--and many of us are so blessed. His 
friends, Jerry O'Neill and family, Nick Littlefield and family.
  Then, as we knew would happen, the end came and I had the sad duty of 
notifying the President that Bill was no longer there. Mr. President, I 
ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record the letter I sent 
to the President on that occasion.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                                      U.S. Senate,

                                   Committee on the Judiciary,

                                   Washington, DC, March 23, 1994.
     Hon. William J. Clinton,
     President, The White House, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. President: It is with deep personal regret that I 
     must inform you of the passing of William Barton Gray. As you 
     know I recommended Bill Gray to you for a seat on the United 
     States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He would have 
     made a splendid Judge. His background prepared him 
     professionally for the responsibilities. More important, his 
     character, integrity and judgment would have served to make 
     him an outstanding Judge, Just as he was an outstanding 
     lawyer and public servant. Those of us who are fortunate to 
     have known and worked with Bill Gray will miss him. The 
     Second Circuit, those whose cases would have been heard by 
     him, and the development of the law will miss him, as well.
                                                 Patrick J. Leahy,
                                                     U.S. Senator.

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the day of the memorial service I read from 
an Italian writer. I quoted,

       In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on Earth 
     lasts beyond his departure. You always feel that life 
     touching yours, that voice speaking to you, that spirit 
     looking out of other eyes, talking to you, and the familiar 
     things he touched, worked with, loved as familiar friends. He 
     lives on in your life and the lives of all others that knew 

  That was my friend, Bill Gray.
  Mr. President, as I told Bill and his family, I knew the day would 
come I would stand here on the floor in my capacity as a Senator, a 
capacity he helped me obtain, and that I would carry out this sad duty.
  Mr. President, I asked unanimous consent the wonderful words of Nick 
Littlefield in his personal remembrance of Bill Gray also be printed in 
the Record at this appropriate place as well as some of the wonderful 
remembrances of him from the newspapers in Vermont.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                  A Personal Remembrance of Bill Gray

                         (By Nick Littlefield)

       When I first saw Bill in 1960 at Harvard freshman baseball 
     tryouts he stood out among the rest of our classmates--more 
     winning, handsome and athletic, an heroic figure even at 18. 
     He had bounded into our lives with the exuberance of a brass 
     band entering the big top, fresh from his family and the 
     Putney hills, with no edge, knowing himself and what he liked 
     to do, serious and ambitious, but especially receptive to all 
     of life's experiences. He lit up every group he was part of 
     at college, wowing even the starchiest of Boston and New York 
     society, and in his solos with the Krokodilos winning 
     admirers at women's colleges across New England.
       Even then, as always, his center was Sarah.
       After a year of law school, Sarah and Bill were married in 
     Riverdale, at the Kerlin's, who would always be there for 
     him, and later for the children. They moved into their first 
     apartment on the third floor of an old row house in West 
     Philadelphia with the same Danish couch, dining room table 
     and Picasso drawing that they had wherever they lived for 
     nearly thirty years.
       With marriage to Sarah, Bill had new responsibilities, and 
     a new goal to succeed in New York City in the most 
     competitive law world of all. He worked harder than before, 
     and as Josh was born, Bill finished law school near the top 
     of his class his last two years.
       He made his reputation in New York fast--in the Federal 
     courthouse at Foley Square, where the great racketeering and 
     espionage trials of New York legend had been held. What an 
     unbeatable impression his Vermont integrity made on jurors 
     who lived in Manhattan and the Bronx. What a good teacher he 
     was to beginning Assistant U.S. Attorneys like me, who 
     followed him to the office after several years.
       Music--ah, his passion was growing. An extra in La Boheme 
     at the Met and at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. We 
     sang together in the New York Choral Society. Sasha was born 
     during the last week of rehearsals for the Bach B Minor Mass. 
     Bill, the father again, held Sasha, the new born in his arms 
     in a weekend in Pine Plains while together we studied the 
     bass part by listening to the record over and over again. 
     Days later we stood on the stage at Avery Fisher Hall, 
     bellowing proudly the musical lines we had learned.
       Soon Bill, having proven himself in New York, made the 
     choice to come home with Sarah and the children to Vermont, 
     leaving behind the fortune that certainly awaited him in New 
     York. I remember the beautiful house in Pomfret, bill 
     teaching Josh to ski there, the years in Washington, and 
     then the return to Jericho where Bill had everything he 
     had always known he wanted at the end of Old Pump Road.
       How he nurtured his land, and how he lived and celebrated 
     life. A year on bees, on gardens, more and more vegetables, 
     planting apple orchards and Christmas trees, sheep, a year on 
     the Gray geneology, the trip with Josh and his father to the 
     roots in Ireland, the year on red wine, studying voice, 
     reviewing operas in Montreal, Boston Marathons where his 
     friends were placed strategically along the way with water 
     bottles, a year on bicycles built for two.
       And family vacations--remember doing them with Bill and 
     Sarah. You felt you had to rent outfits and special 
     equipment, tights for biking and shoes for running and 
     hiking; train for weeks in advance; brace yourself--and then 
     feel like you needed a week off to rest after it was over. 
     Casting for blue fish and a run before breakfast, then tennis 
     with Bill and Gil, then bicycling, lunch, more tennis, pick 
     up Whiffle ball, a late afternoon jog and swim, dinner, and 
     maybe even an opera before bed.
       During this time, there was his growing interest in 
     politics. Once I wondered if Bill would be a Democrat--thank 
     God he was. His friendship with Senator Leahy and that tough 
     campaign which was so well conducted that it turned out not 
     to be close at all, and his own quest for the Senate, an 
     impossible dream like our mutual love for the Red Sox.
       Then the darker, introspective times. I'm struck by the 
     metaphor of the long Vermont winters he had lived with since 
     he was born. In the garden and late for dinner. Not always 
     easy to live with. But as a friend somehow more accessible, 
     more touching and compelling than ever.
       Even the final years while he battled his illness provided 
     some unexpected joys: watching Josh start law school at 
     Columbia, Patrick's faith in him for the judgeship, Sasha and 
     Misha together visiting in Vermont in January, nights at home 
     by the wood stove, being able to care for Mabel, Connie, 
     contributing so selflessly in his struggle with cancer. 
     Through it all, Sarah, still at the center. She, as always, 
     made Bill possible. And in these years he became more 
     unforgettable, more heroic.
       Jenny and I were blessed with the chance to see Bill at the 
     hospital just last Sunday. There, sitting in bed, surrounded 
     by nurses who had become his fans, by his opera tapes, a CD 
     of love songs by Jose Carreras, cards and posters from 
     Vermont, and tubes, and struggling to breathe and harder 
     still to talk, Bill whispered to us before we left. ``I'm 
     going to try very hard to make it.''
       In the poet, Stephen Spender's words,

     ``What is precious is never to forget. . . .
     The names of those who in their lives fought for life.
     Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
     Born of the sun, they travelled a short while towards the 
     And left the vivid air signed with their honour.''

       Judge Gray, your honor, you brought us love, and wit, and 
     music, sometime exasperating tenacity, kindness, idealism, 
     intellect and in the end indomitable courage. You take with 
     you our dearest love.

          [From the St. Albans (VT) Messenger, Mar. 24, 1994]

                               Bill Gray

                           (By Emerson Lynn)

       It would forever remain spring if every Vermonter touched 
     by the warmth and wit of Bill Gray would lay a blossom on his 
       He died Tuesday evening after a second-round battle against 
     leukemia. With his death, Vermont lost a gentleman, a 
     statesman and a friend of large talent and good will.
       As a public figure he was well known, most recently as the 
     nominee of Sen. Patrick Leahy to become judge for the 2nd 
     U.S. Court of Appeals, and before that, as the Democratic 
     challenger to Sen. James Jeffords. He was U.S. Attorney from 
     1977-81 and headed various statewide efforts such as 
     Vermont's Bicentennial. His legal talents were matched only 
     by his sense of fairness, which made him a trusted person to 
     both Republican and Democratic administrations.
       What distinguished him was that he was in public as he was 
     in private: honest, committed, sincere and thoughtful. He 
     prized integrity above all else and would have given up 
     public service before he would have sacrificed it to personal 
     gain. He embodied the qualities Vermonters desire in their 
     public servants.
       It is important to mark such lives. In an age dominated by 
     the short flash of entertainment and sports stars, it's 
     necessary to talk of those who understand happiness, family, 
     justice, reason and humanity, those who by their dedication 
     add to the sum of a state's well-being. It's important 
     because we desperately need more people like him.
       It is impossible to offer a proper tribute to Bill Gray 
     without breaking from formal prose and trying to get at the 
     essence of what made him someone whom others wanted to be 
     around, or to be like.
       Part of it was his innate understanding of the word good as 
     a noun. This framed his political and personal will. It's why 
     others offered their trust in return. It was the underpinning 
     of his motivation; he wanted to be good, to do good, and for 
     others to understand why it was important.
       This understanding allowed him the personal freedom to be 
     happy with himself, his family, his friends, and to explore 
     without fear of failure. That's what allows a person to love 
     and to be loved.
       It was this confidence that others found so engaging, and 
     even though no other man could look down upon him, he was 
     secure enough to be humble and to understand the importance 
     of others.
       He was as physical as he was intellectual. He was a superb 
     athlete who enjoyed the harshness of Vermont's winters, a man 
     proud of the calluses that came from running the farm.
       With his strength came his rages. He despised injustice and 
     fought it with vigor. He could not tolerate political 
     sophistry, and said so. He was truth's best champion.
       The sum of his qualities gave him the necessary strength in 
     his fight against leukemia. Even with a black and blue body, 
     hairless head and no reason to entertain others, his sense of 
     humor was ever present, as was his determination, his 
     courage, and his gentleness.
       For his family, speech cannot define their love. From his 
     friends and fellow Vermonters, we offer our hopes that others 
     will follow in his path.

            [From the Burlington Free Press, Mar. 24, 1994]

                 Vermont Could Use More Time With Gray

                           (By Sam Hemingway)

       You can bet William B. Gray's name is already on the 
     letterhead of heaven's law firm, but we sure could have used 
     his skills a little longer down here on Earth.
       We could have used his keen mind and compassion as a judge 
     for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
       That was the job U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., had 
     nominated him for the one President Clinton and Congress 
     would surely have bestowed upon Gray, 52, of Jericho, if he 
     had not lost round 2 of his battle with leukemia Tuesday 
     night in Boston. Gray served as U.S. Attorney from 1977-81 
     and ran for U.S. Senate in 1988.
       ``I've lost a good friend. Vermont has lost a good 
     friend,'' Leahy said during a Washington, D.C., telephone 
     interview Wednesday, his voice wavering until it could no 
     longer hold back his tears.
       We could have enjoyed his big heart.
       Whether it was his love of the law, Vermont, music, 
     running, gardening or even Red Sox Nation in its darkest 
     hour, Gray gave the cause at hand all his passion, all his 
       ``He epitomized the warmth and outgoing quality of 
     Vermonters,'' said William Mares of Burlington. ``Bill was a 
     living lie to the very wrong cliche that Vermonters are 
     turned inward and silent. Bill did not know how to be mean.''
       We could have learned a thing or two from him about family.
       One of his many proteges, Jerome O'Neil, recalled the time 
     Gray cheered up O'Neill's young daughter by placing a ripe 
     pumpkin in her non-productive pumpkin patch one night.
       And who can forget Gray's tearful comment during the 1986 
     Equal Rights Amendment campaign? ``It has to pass,'' he told 
     a rally of ERA supporters two weeks before the measure was 
     defeated. ``Or I'm not going to be able to face my daughter 
     on Nov. 5.''
       But most of all, we could have appreciated his love of 
     country, his dedication to public service in its purest form.
       ``It was always important to Bill that anyone who went 
     through the criminal justice system feel like they had been 
     treated fairly, even if they did not like the result,'' said 
     O'Neill, who worked under Gray in the U.S. attorney's office. 
     ``Lots of times at sentencing, the person going to jail would 
     come over afterward, just to shake his hand.''
       There was nothing phony about Gray's concern for the rights 
     of the people he prosecuted, O'Neill said. One time, O'Neill 
     said, Gray picked up a female hitchhiker and came to realize 
     as they talked that she was wanted on a federal drug charge.
       ``He told her who he was and convinced her it was time she 
     came in and dealt with us,'' O'Neill recalled. ``The next 
     morning, he stopped by her home, picked her up and brought 
     her in so she could make peace with the government and get on 
     with her life.''
       Not that Gray's tenure as U.S. Attorney wasn't tortuous at 
     times. He endured a bitter personal attack on his integrity 
     from famed defense lawyer William Kunstler in the case of 
     alleged West German terrorist Christian Berster.
       He also oversaw the government's lengthy investigation into 
     an international arms smuggling scheme by Space Research 
     Corp, of North Troy, a case that led to brief jail sentences 
     for Canadian rocket scientist Gerald Bull and a colleague in 
     1981. Gray called the case his toughest as a prosecutor.
       Although Gray was a Democrat, his admirers crossed all 
     political lines. Republican New York Mayor Rudolph 
     Giuliani got him interested in becoming a prosecutor. 
     Republican Attorney General John Eaton picked him as his 
     special prosecutor after the 1984 state police raid of an 
     Island Pond religious sect.
       ``I needed someone I could rely on and have confidence 
     in,'' Easton said later of his choice. ``I just have such 
     respect for his integrity and his ability to keep his eyes on 
     the legal issues.''
       Democrats counted on him even more. When Gov. Madelein 
     Kunin needed someone in 1985 to review the state parole 
     system, she chose Gray. When the Bicentennial Commission 
     needed a chairman five years later, she tapped Gray again.
       ``He was always very interested in bridging public issues 
     and private lives,'' Kunin reflected. ``He had very clear 
     ethics, values and ideas and he communicated them in such a 
     pristine way, with a certain gentleness.''
       Politics, the chance to serve the state, eventually pulled 
     him in.
       In 1986, he worked for no pay as Leahy's full-time campaign 
     manager, partly because of his friendship for Leahy when the 
     two were prosecutors and partly to see the world of politics 
     up close.
       And in 1988, Gray himself plunged into the electoral fray, 
     embarking on an uphill and ultimately losing battle for the 
     U.S. Senate against Republican James Jeffords, then a seven-
     term member of the U.S. House.
       ``It was a grueling campaign and he took the defeat very 
     hard,'' said his campaign manager, Gary Robinson, now an 
     assistant to the mayor of San Jose, Calif. ``I've done a lot 
     of campaigns before and since. Rarely do you move from a 
     working relationship with the candidate to a close 
     friendship, but when I finished that year, I was personally 
     close with Bill and Sarah Gray.''
       He approached his deadly struggle with his disease the same 
     way he did his longshot U.S. Senate battle--with 
     determination and no trace of self-pity. During his 
     hospitalization in Boston, he deepened his friendship with 
     another cancer warrior, former presidential candidate Paul 
     Tsongas, and the two spoke often of what they's been through.
       ``Facing serious disease has its rewards,'' he told the 
     Free Press last year. ``It's not all bad. There's something 
     enriching in the process of facing your own mortality.''
       For a while a bone marrow transplant from his sister, 
     Connie, seemed to work. In December, he talked 
     enthusiastically about being appointed to the appellate judge 
     post his friends always felt he was destined to hold.
       ``I think it's something that I would like very much to 
     do,'' he said. ``I will be just so honored if the opportunity 
     comes my way.''
       But then came a relapse and, on March 3, a second bone 
     marrow transplant at the Brigham & Women's Hospital in 
       By last weekend, when a case of pneumonia had settled into 
     his body stripped of its immune defenses, his family and 
     friends began preparing for the inevitable. Gray died shortly 
     before 8 p.m. Tuesday with his wife, family members and 
     O'Neill by his side. Thankfully, he was not in any pain, 
     O'Neill said.
       ``We are just heartbroken down here,'' Judge James Oakes, 
     the man Gray would have replaced, said sadly Wednesday 
     afternoon. ``When he first told me he had the leukemia and 
     was going to do the bone marrow transplant, he was so brave 
     so dignified, so. . . .''
       Oakes paused, and took a deep breath. ``I'm sorry, I can't 
     talk,'' he wept. ``He was just a great guy.''

                           career highlights

       Highlights from the life of William B. Gray, 52, a former 
     U.S. attorney who died Tuesday night in Boston. At the time 
     of his death, Gray was waiting for final confirmation to the 
     2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York City. He 
     would have replaced retired Chief Judge James Oakes of 
       October 1972: Gray is named the first assistant U.S. 
     Attorney for Vermont. He teamed up with his boss U.S. 
     Attorney George W.F. Cook to convict two Central Vermont men 
     for violating the civil rights of a 15 year-old Barre boy 
     when they killed him so he could not testify against them for 
     a burglary.
       December 1975: Gray is appointed U.S. Associate Deputy 
     Attorney General and director of the executive office for all 
     94 U.S. Attorneys.
       September 1977: Gray is sworn in as U.S. Attorney for 
     Vermont following his appointment by President Jimmy Carter. 
     Gray and his chief assistant, Jerome O'Neill, later convicted 
     Kristina Berster for illegal entry into Vermont in a highly 
     publicized case. The arrest drew international attention 
     because she was an alleged member of the West German Baader-
     Melnhof terrorist group.
       May 1981: Gray joins the Burlington law firm of Sheehy Brue 
     and Gray.
       May 1985: Gray is asked by Gov. Madeleine Kunin to study 
     the Vermont Parole system after Kent Hanson kills a woman 
     three weeks after being released on parole. Gray said the 
     board acted properly, but that it has too little latitude to 
     deny paroles.
       September 1986: Gray named to run the re-election campaign 
     for U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, who defeats Gov. Richard 
       February 1988: Gray formally announces he will run for the 
     seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Robert Stafford. He 
     eventually loses to Republican James M. Jeffords, who spent 
     14 years in the U.S. House.

            [From the Burlington Free Press, Mar. 24, 1994]

                             A Vermont Loss

       Bill Gray's untimely death Tuesday at 52 has left Vermont 
     much the poorer.
       For those who knew him as a friend--and there were many--it 
     was as if some bright light had just gone out with the bad 
     news--a class act unaccountably gone.
       For those who did not know him, some of his long and varied 
     record of public service will have to suffice:
       Scrupulously fair as U.S. attorney for Vermont.
       Methodical prosecutor in Space Research's illegal arms 
     shipment case.
       Enthusiastic chairman of Vermont's Bicentennial Commission.
       Active Democrat, but also Republican Gov. Richard 
     Snelling's non-partisan choice to investigate his 
     administration's handling of the Island Pond case.
       Long-time friend and campaign manager to Vermont Democrat 
     U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy.
       Imminent choice of President Clinton to succeed Vermont 
     Judge James Oakes on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of 
       First and always a gentleman, Gray was next a highly 
     respected lawyer and public servant; then, briefly and less 
     comfortably but no less hopefully, a politician. His natural 
     soft-spoken manner fit him so well it came as a shock to hear 
     him try to talk tough on the stump in his unsuccessful 1988 
     run for the U.S. Senate. That higher-profile political role 
     always came to him awkwardly--a plus in other ways.
       Vermont's greatest loss, though, can be found in what it 
     now can no longer do: count on and call on Bill Gray's fair-
     mindedness in a pinch. Every community needs a complement of 
     such rare people, and Vermont is the poorer for having just 
     lost one so exceptional.

             [From the Rutland Daily Herald, Mar. 24, 1994]

                Gray Is Remembered as a Man of Integrity

                         (By Christopher Graff)

       Montpelier.--Bill Gray was Vermont's Mister Fix-It, the 
     diplomat governors turned to in their times of trouble.
       He was also one of the state's great success stories, a 
     Putney native who once held a top post in the U.S. Justice 
     Department and had just been tapped for one of the most 
     prestigious judicial posts in the country.
       His interests were amazingly diverse; he was as much at 
     each analyzing opera as he was discussing in detail his sheep 
     farm in Jericho, his foreign travels or his absolute passion, 
       Gray, 52, died Tuesday after a two-year battle with 
       At his core Gray was a man of effervescent optimism, 
     describing himself as ``a product of the American dream.''
       His father was a maintenance man at the private Putney 
     School; his mother a staff worker there with household and 
     nutritional duties.
       ``My parents worked hard, very hard,'' Gray once said. 
     ``Although they never earned much money, we never felt poor 
     because they provided everything we needed to prosper. We 
     children will always treasure them for making the stars seem 
     so bright and possibilities so real.''
       With his parents working there, Gray was able to go to the 
     Putney School; he was then able to attend Harvard University 
     on a scholarship. After attending law school, Gray clerked 
     for Judge Sterry Waterman on the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of 
     Appeals, the judgeship Gray was to take if his health had 
       His law career was outstanding, serving as associate deputy 
     attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department, supervising 
     all the U.S. attorneys, and then serving for four years as 
     Vermont's U.S. attorney.
       In that job in 1978 he prosecuted West German Kristina 
     Berster in a highly publicized trial in which the federal 
     government termed Berster a terrorist. The courtroom drama 
     pitted the quiet Gray against the theatrical William 
     Kunstler. Gray won.
       Gray handled several high-profile cases in his private law 
     practice in Burlington, but most Vermonters probably learned 
     about Gray during his ill-fated, unsuccessful race for the 
     U.S. Senate in 1988.
       Having just chaired the highly successful 1986 re-election 
     bid of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, Gray felt he could beat James 
     Jeffords in the contest for the seat being given up by Sen. 
     Robert Stafford.
       On paper, his campaign strategy appeared strong, and Gray 
     worked long and hard, but Jeffords' 14 years in the U.S. 
     House gave him too big an edge.
       Gray's greatest contribution to Vermont was serving state 
     leaders in their time of trouble. And it wasn't just 
     governors. The state Supreme Court's administrator turned to 
     Gray to handle a complex case concerning mandatory retirement 
     of judges.
       Richard Snelling's darkest days as governor were following 
     the state's unsuccessful 1984 raid on the Northeast Kingdom 
     Community Church, a raid sparked by allegations of child 
     abuse by church members.
       Following the raid, Snelling, a Republican, and then-
     Attorney General John Easton, also a Republican, turned to 
     Gray, a Democrat, to serve, in effect, as a special 
     prosecutor evaluating the state's case.

             [From the Rutland Daily Herald, Mar. 25, 1994]

                              William Gray

       William Gray was a prosecutor, political adviser, lawyer, 
     political candidate and would have been a federal judge. But 
     after his death at age 52 on Wednesday, he is remembered 
     above all as a decent man.
       Gray, who had been battling leukemia, was in line to become 
     a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He would 
     have replaced Judge James Oakes. But he died from pneumonia 
     that set in because of his weakened condition at a hospital 
     in Boston.
       Those who knew him recall his love of opera and of 
     politics, of the law and of baseball. But the lasting 
     impression is of an honest man, enthusiastic and committed, 
     someone to whom people of all political persuasions could 
     confidently turn for help.
       When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1988 against Sen. James 
     Jeffords, he lost handily. It was a race against a popular 
     incumbent, and Gray had no previous experience as a 
     candidate. So at best, the race was a long shot. But he had 
     something else working against him, too: He seemed like such 
     a nice person, straight-forward and honest about his ideas, 
     heartfelt in his feeling. Some voters probably asked 
     themselves: Is he really a politician?
       He was more than a politician. He was a good and 
     trustworthy man. As a judge, he would have served the nation 
     well. His life of service in Vermont was proof of that.

            [From the Burlington Free Press, Mar. 27, 1994]

                   Gray's Wit, Compassion Remembered

                            (By Tom Hacker)

       Celebration of a passionate life mixed with the sadness of 
     unfulfilled promise Saturday as William Gray's friends said 
       More than 500 people packed the First Unitarian 
     Universalist Church in Burlington to honor Gray.
       The former U.S. attorney and judicial nominee to the 2nd 
     U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals died Tuesday, ending his fight 
     with leukemia.
       ``He lives on in your lives, and in the lives of all others 
     who knew him,'' said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
       ``He was a friend on the sunny days, but also on the dark 
     days,'' said Leahy, who had nominated Gray to the appellate 
     judgeship. ``I remember the darkest. It was when he told me 
     and Marcelle about his illness. And here he was, trying to 
     cheer us up.''
       Interspersed with the personal reminiscences, musicians and 
     singers--many of whom Gray had performed with as a member of 
     the Musica Propia and Friends choral group--fought back tears 
     as they rendered selection by Bach, Faure and Mozart.
       Jerome O'Neill, who worked under Gray in the U.S. 
     Attorney's office, traced his longtime friendship with Gray 
     to his first acquaintance, when the two were united in the 
     prosecution of a man caught selling a machine gun to an 
     undercover federal agent.
       ``Here in Vermont, not everyone was sure that was a 
     crime,'' O'Neill remembered.
       O'Neill painted a vivid image of a man of endless optimism. 
     ``You taught us to look at a difficult situation and turn 
     lemons into lemonade, and do it like no other person could,'' 
     he said. ``You will be Vermont's forever. Bill, you really 
     made a difference. Not many people can say that.''
       Nick Littlefield, a lifelong friend who followed Gray into 
     the job of Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York City, said 
     Gray, a Putney native, had abandoned the promise of earning a 
     fortune in New York for a simpler life in Jericho.
       ``Judge Gray, your honor,'' Littlefield said, ``you brought 
     us love, and wit, and music, sometimes exasperating tenacity, 
     kindness, idealism, intellect--and, in the end, indominable 
     courage. You take with you our dearest love.''
       At a reception after the memorial service, Leahy was 
     quiet--and often alone. ``It's so sad,'' he said. ``It's so 
     sad because it's not fair.''

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. Boren] 
under the order is recognized for not to exceed 15 minutes.