Published October 11, 2019

MELROSE — Deborah Hadden Gray, 55, resident of Melrose, passed away surrounded by family after a prolonged illness on Sept. 25, 2019.

Beloved wife of David J. Gray with whom she shared 20 years of marriage. Proud mother of William “Liam” H. Gray and Collin J. Gray. Adored daughter of Craig and Joan (Gill) Hadden of Barnard, Vt., and daughter-in-law of Carolyn R. Gray and the late Jack Gray of Holliston. Loving sister of David Hadden and his wife Amie of Bangor, Maine. Dear sister-in-law of Bob Gray of So. Hampton, N.H.; Jim and Molly Gray of Springfield, Va.; Kelly and Steve Donovan of Marshfield; and John and Michelle Gray of Milford. Loved niece of Stephen and Bette Goldmann (and the late Joyce (Gill) Goldmann) of Dallas, Texas; Thomas and Mary Hadden of Greenville, N.C.; and cousins Steve and Amy Goldmann of San Francisco, Calif. and Laura and Keith Benedict of Dallas, Texas. Devoted aunt to Dylan, Will, Mia, Brooke, Nick, Sam, Luke, Allie, Axel, Jack, Joey, Matthew, Katie, and Patrick.

Born in St. Louis, Deb spent her early years in Pittsfield and then Barnard,Vt. She attended Woodstock Regional High School and Bucknell University where she competed as a runner, skier and bicycle racer. She developed her love for science, nature, and an active lifestyle from her parents at a young age; shaping her into the intelligent, giving, and modest women she was to become.

Deb held a masters degree in Biology and worked as a wetlands scientist and planner for Camp Dresser & McKee in Cambridge and Fort Point Associates in Boston in her early professional career. She worked 20 years with the Massachusetts Port Authority on airport and maritime projects, retiring as Port Director. Deb was a strong advocate for the working port, and the jobs and businesses it supported, while carefully balancing the priorities of the host communities. She managed critical projects such as dredging of the harbor as required to accommodate the ever-enlarging ships calling on the Port. She did her work with a “can-do” spirit, filled with engagement and free of pretense. She was respected as a thoughtful and pragmatic manager, thriving at collaborating on complex projects with colleagues, the business community, elected officials, advocacy groups, and the public alike. She loved and valued her colleagues greatly.

Though she had a demanding professional life, her true focus and love were her family and being Mom to Liam and Collin. Deb prioritized and planned her time around them – cherishing meal times, birthdays, game and movie nights, arts and crafts, and many adventures big and small. She was always bringing them to unique and interesting places to explore, enjoy, and learn. She kept the family moving with biking, skiing, snow-showing, hiking, camping, and beach trips. She loved to travel, always looking for new places to journey to and explore. Deb was an avid walker no matter the weather, and also loved cooking, gardening, reading, and going to the beach.

Deb had a strong but private faith and lived it through her daily actions and deeds. This was important as her disease took hold, helping her persevere and later resolve to live her remaining time in the most meaningful ways possible. Deb drew strength and support from devoted friends to remain active and engaged in life as circumstances allowed. She later appreciated receiving amazing care from dedicated professionals tending to her complex needs; including many aides, nurses, and doctors with whom she developed loving relationships.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to gather in honor of Deb’s life at Grace Chapel, 59 Worthen Rd., Lexington for her Memorial Service on Saturday, October 26 at 11 a.m. A celebration of her life will follow at 2 p.m. at the Exchange Conference Center, 212 Northern Ave., Boston.

Gifts in Deb’s memory may be to a cause important to you or made to:

• Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund, PO Box 760695, Melrose, MA 02176 or

• Follow Your Art Community Studios, 647 Main Street, Melrose MA 02176 or @  

• Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Development Office, 1575 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 or @

and designate “Other” – “Adaptive Sports” and/or “Aquatic Therapy”