By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Family and friends of Sam Gray remember the man as someone who cared a lot about others and wanted to make a difference.
When Gray died on July 4, relatives knew they wanted to remember him with a charitable act, something that would benefit a group or organization Gray cared about.
That act became a softball match, with family and friends taking the Don Ball Park field to remember Gray and raise money to support CASA of NH,
This was the first Sam Gray Memorial Softball Tournament and the family hopes it will be a regular event.
Gray’s daughter, Jennifer Gray Byrne, said the game was planned quickly, but was a big success.
“We just started a few weeks after his passing because we knew in our heartache, Dad would want as much money and attention raised for CASA,” Byrne said. “It’s the best way to honor the man he was.”
Teams took the field on game day and were named for things Gray loved — “Peaches” for the peach trees Gray bought his children and “Strawberries” for a horse he once rode while battling cancer.
Gray was also an instrumental member of the Derry Rotary Club, once serving as its president and was a U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. He was named Rotarian of the Year for his volunteerism, including serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer to help assist children in need.