Lee Gray, undated. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 12, 1994

Born: May 10, 1876

Died: November 20, 1964

Married: Beatrice Tovar

Earl Lenier Gray, known as Lee, was the brother of Bertrand H. Gray; he owned the The Book Store. Known as E.L. (no one remembers him being called "Earl"), he was a "gentleman"— he always comported himself as such, and conducted his business in a gentlemanly manner, selling nothing cheap or gaudy and running the store every day dressed in a three-piece suit.

Occasionally, his strictness about business matters caused problems. Gray had the contract with the local school district to supply textbooks. He would invariably order precisely as many as he was told would be needed, and he almost as invariably would run short. Years after he retired and the business was owned by Bill Harvey, Gray advised the younger man, "Don't get involved with textbooks."

In December, 1955, Gray sold "The Bookstore" to Donald R. Moreau.

E. L. Gray died in 1964; his wife Beatrice died in 1934. They had no children, so most of his estate went to a distant cousin. He did, however, leave $30,000 to the Saranac Lake Free Library — a most appropriate gift from a bookstore proprietor.

Source: Phil Gallos' article on The Book Store

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 23, 1964

Earl L. Gray, 88, a Saranac Lake businessman since 1903, died Friday afternoon at Saranac Lake General Hospital.

Mr. Gray was born May 10, 1876, a son of Charles F. Gray and Phebe Washer Gray in a house at 18 Main Street, Saranac Lake that was torn down when the LaPan Highway was built.

Mr. Gray attended local schools and went to work as a telegrapher in the early 1890s for John Harding at the old Algonquin Hotel on Lower Saranac Lake. In 1896 he became a telegrapher for the New York Central Railroad at Utica.

In 1906 he purchased an interest in a bookstore and stationer which became known as the E. L. Gray and Company and which he operated until 1956 at three different Main Street locations.

In 1913 he and Elbert Bellows opened an automobile agency and, also with Mr. Bellows, he started the first bus company in the area which served Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh. He served on the Saranac Lake Board of Trade in 1912.

On Nov. 10, 1910 he was married to Beatrice Tovar who died in 1934. They built a home at 15 Helen Street and lived there for many years.

Mr. Gray was a life-long member of the Church of St. Luke, the Beloved Physician and was a member of its vestry. He also was a member of Lodge 789, F&AM; the Wanneta Lodge, Royal Arch Masons; the Franklin Commandery, Knights Templar of Malone; the Karnak Temple Order of the Mystic Shrine of Montreal; and of the Saranac Lake Rotary Club.

A brother, B. H. Gray of Malone, survives.

Friends may call at the Fortune Funeral Home where a Masonic Service will be held at 8 o'clock this evening. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home at 2 p. m. Tuesday with the Rev. O. W. Peter Hill rector of St. Luke's Church, officiating. Burial will be in Pine Ridge Cemetery.


As a member or members, Earl L. Gray and his wife, Beatrice Gray, were named in the sale of Pontiac Club property to the Saranac Lake Boys' Club, Inc., in 1917.