Thomas Tucker Grayson of Burlington, NC, died at his home on Sunday, September 1, 2019, surrounded by his beloved family and pets. He was 74.
A Lexington, NC, native and Lexington High graduate, Tommy attended Chowan Junior College, then Guilford College, where he was a standout football, basketball and baseball player. He signed with MLB's Detroit Tigers after graduating in 1968 and spent five years in the Detroit Tigers’ baseball organization, reaching the Class AAA level, before returning to Guilford County to teach and coach.
Over the years, Tommy taught and coached at many local schools but spent most of his career at Eastern Guilford High School. In his 17 years there, he served as head coach in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, track and field and golf (not all at once!). He also was the head football coach at Rockingham County High School for eight years. He retired from teaching in 2002 but continued to assist in coaching the baseball and football teams at Guilford College for more than a decade. He touched countless lives as a teacher and coach.
He was inducted into the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame, the Guilford College Athletics Hall of Fame, the Chowan Sports Hall of Fame and the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, he received the Eastern Guilford High School Lifetime Wildcat Award.
Tommy was a truly great man. He was incredibly kind and loving, and despite how much his friends and family admired him, he was exceedingly humble. He had more friends than you could count and would meet someone he knew everywhere he went, whether it was here in town or across the country. His closest friends were steadfast and supported him until the very end. He loved animals and always had a houseful of them. He adored his eight grandchildren and was an amazing Paw Paw to all of them. He was so proud of his three daughters and loved them more than almost anything. Most of all, though, he loved his wife. He thought she hung the moon.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Pam Grayson; his daughter, Miffy Grayson, his daughter Molly Grayson-McDonald and son-in-law Mat McDonald; his daughter Meghan Dovenbarger and son-in-law Matt Dovenbarger; his two sisters, Judy Gibson and brother-in-law Butch Gibson, Ruthie Toler and brother-in-law Benji Toler; and his brother-in-law Bobby Leonard. Other survivors include eight grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Buddy and Daphne Grayson, brother Bob Grayson, and sisters Martha Leonard and Becky Patterson.
Tommy’s friends and family know how much he loved Guilford College and Eastern Guilford High School. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either: Eastern Guilford High School Athletic Booster Club (EGHSABC), c/o EGHS, 415 Peeden Dr., Gibsonville, NC, 27249; or Guilford Football or Guilford Baseball, c/o Guilford College, 5800 W Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC, 27410. Please indicate that your donation is in memory of Coach Tommy Grayson.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at 1 pm in the auditorium at Eastern Guilford High School. Please join us to celebrate Tommy’s life and legacy.
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