John Monteith Gray, M.D.,

John Monteith Gray, M.D., one of the Bay Area’s leading orthopedic spine surgeons, passed away peacefully at his home in Windsor on the morning of January 17, 2018. Dr. Gray had been battling cancer. At the time of his death, John was surrounded by his beloved wife Nancy, his dog Sadie, and close friends and family.

Dr. Gray was the youngest of two children born to the late Margit and Donald Monteith Gray on May 27, 1943. Dr. Gray was extremely proud of his heritage, of growing up in Kansas City, his Scottish, English, Welsh and Swedish lineage, and his family. His father Don was a vice president of Hallmark International; his mother Margit was a home economics teacher and dedicated homemaker, and his “second mother” Frances (Keeney) Gray, was a lead artist for Hallmark.

After receiving a BA from Westminster College in Missouri, and attending medical school at the University of Kansas, Dr. Gray headed to the West Coast to complete his orthopaedic residency training at the University of California in San Francisco, and fell in love with the Bay Area. He continued his studies to complete his postgraduate training at Harvard Medical School in Boston. As a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, Dr Gray served as Chief of Orthopaedics at Roosevelt Roads Naval Hospital in Puerto Rico.

After his tour of duty, Dr Gray returned to the Bay Area in 1978 to begin his long-standing private practice of Pediatric Orthopedics and Orthopaedics of the Spine. He was on staff at California Pacific Medical Center for 35 years, as well as Marin General, Santa Rosa Memorial, and Sutter Santa Rosa Hospitals. He specialized in scoliosis in adult and pediatric patients, spinal deformities, and degenerative conditions of the spine. He was well known for his proactive conservative approach to back care, and taught his patients a “back safe” lifestyle to prevent back pain and reduce the need for surgical intervention.

Dr. Gray was widely respected by his colleges and a father figure to many of his young scoliosis patients. He was chosen by his peers as one of the top 100 doctors in the Bay Area, one of only 10 orthopedic surgeons to receive this prestigious award.

Dr. Gray trained numerous orthopedic and pediatric residents and attained the level of Full Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at UCSF. In addition to his busy practice, he volunteered his time for many years at Shriner’s Hospital in San Francisco in surgery on extremely complex spinal deformities in children.

Dr. Gray was on the Board of Trustees at Unity in Marin, where he met and married his wife Nancy. The couple loved living in the wine country, exploring wineries and the richness of beautiful Sonoma County.

As his friends knew, Dr. Gray had a delightfully dry sense of Midwestern-style humor. He was a passionate music fan, played guitar, sang in his church choir, and loved bands of the ‘60s, especially Peter, Paul and Mary. But his favorite pastime was his spectacular garden filled with roughly 150 rose bushes, a fruit orchard and a vegetable garden with 20 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes that he famously distributed among friends and coworkers. He would joke that like the rich who make money while they sleep, his tomatoes were growing while he was in surgery, and that made him a truly wealthy man. For everyone who knew him, John was one of the most gracious, generous, kind, and loving gentleman they ever met.

Mourning him are his wife Nancy Gray and her family; sister Susan Gray Detweiler and her husband Will Detweiler of Philadelphia; sons Andrew, Alexander and Logan Gray of Melbourne, Australia; nephew John Detweiler of Philadelphia and nieces Margit Detweiler of Brooklyn, New York and Sara Gray Detweiler Loughman of Farmington, Connecticut.

Nancy Gray would like to invite all to join in a celebration of Dr. Gray’s life that will be held on March 24, 2018 at 2:00pm at Unity in Marin, 600 Palm Drive, Novato, CA. Spring was his favorite season. Please visit to be posted of further details on the memorial service or to leave a memory or a tribute to Dr. Gray. In lieu of flowers, honorary contributions can be made to North Bay Fire Relief Fund (Redwood Credit Union) to support those affected by the recent North Bay fires.

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