The Grays

A Life of Giving and Service

By Christena Copeland

When walking into the home of John and Fiona Gray on this particularly cold, wintery day, one immediately feels the warmth and comfort that comes from two people who have loved and supported each other for many years. Fiona greets me at the door of their beautiful home that overlooks the waters of Herring Cove. The table at which we gather displays a stunning bouquet of colourful mixed flowers. Smiling, Fiona tells me that they are a gift from one of their sons in recognition of their 55th wedding anniversary, celebrated three days earlier. This is the story of John and Fiona Gray, two people we proudly call Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) donors.

Aside from their devotion to each other, John and Fiona have committed their lives to the service of those in need. While they both originally hail from England, a desire to travel and help others saw them joining the International Grenfell Association - an organization dedicated to bring medical and social care to the people living along the Labrador coast and the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland. The community of St. Anthony is where John, a physician who eventually specialized in geriatrics, met Fiona, and where they spent 25 years with the Mission before moving to Halifax in the early ‘80s, to work with Dalhousie Medical School. It was at this time that they were introduced to DMRF.

“I was appointed to Dalhousie Medical School in 1982 to help develop an interest in the area of geriatric medicine,” remembers John. “I very quickly learned of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. We both feel it is a very worthwhile cause. Research is vital to medicine’s future and its impact is incalculable; there wouldn’t be any advances in medicine without it.”

John’s many decades of working in medicine have certainly given him an appreciation of the importance of research and of the funds needed to ensure its continued success. Both John and Fiona are no strangers to giving and to legacy. Before leaving St. Anthony in 1981, they, and a local committee, organized the building of a Home to provide all inclusive care for seniors in the area. Since that time, a larger facility was built. In recognition of the immense support and care given by the Grays, it was named the John M. Gray Centre and Complex. This 47-bed long-term and continuing care facility provides high levels of nursing care, along with support to the outside community. Today, the couple continues their life of generous support with active charitable giving.

“I’m all for supporting Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation,” says John. “Leaving a gift in one’s estate is a very worthwhile decision to make.” DMRF gives our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Grays for their commitment to our organization and for their immense generosity of spirit. Theirs is truly a life of commitment, devotion, and service.

A planned gift to the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation is a gift of hope and possibility. There are a multitude of ways to arrange your gift to meet your needs and those of your family, while supporting local, innovative medical research. For more information, please contact Christena Copeland at 902-494-1856 or