‘I never quit being busy’

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Albert Lea resident Doran Gray stands next to a “Welcome Friends” sign at the Albert Lea Senior Center. Gray is the vice president of the Senior Center board and can often be found there. -- Sarah Stultz

Albert Lean Doran Gray may be retired, but that doesn’t mean he’s not keeping busy.

At 76, he’s served on the Albert Lea Senior Center board for six years, currently as vice president. He said he and the rest of the board members make sure the center runs smoothly. He also likes participating in the activities there, including playing the card game 500.

“I like to stay busy,” Gray said. “I never quit being busy.”

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He calls bingo four times a month, and is also employed by the city on the nights and weekends when there are parties or other events at the center.

Doran Gray, back left, plays cards Friday with some friends at the Albert Lea Senior Center. Gray said he likes to stay busy, whether it’s at the center, bowling or doing other activities. -- Sarah Stultz

“Anytime it’s not open, I work,” he said, noting that he knows the ins and outs of the building.

For example, if an event has a rain location at the Senior Center, he has to be on call to open the building in case of bad weather and monitor the activity.

“I’ve made a lot of friends at the Senior Center,” Gray said. “It’s kind of like a family — a big family, that’s what it is.”

Gray is also serving his second term on the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which meets monthly.

He said the advisory board wanted a senior representative, so Senior Center Director Paula Juveland recommended his name.

He noted the advisory board has been working on a lot of about ideas for a ballpark and on getting funding for various things such as trails. However, it has been challenging to be on the board during a budget crunch, he said, when funds are severely limited.

In addition to his involvement with the Senior Center and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Gray also loves to bowl.

He said every Wednesday he goes to Austin to bowl. He is also part of a senior league at Holiday Lanes in Albert Lea.

Doran Gray, back left, plays cards Friday with some friends at the Albert Lea Senior Center.-- Sarah Stultz

His highest bowling score is a 264, he said.

Gray said he’s been in the area since 1972 when he and his wife bought the mobile home park in Twin Lakes. They sold it in 1977.

He worked at Concrete Minnesota for 17 years.

He and his wife, Shirley, used to make wooden miniatures and sell those for 15 years in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. He said he would cut out the miniatures and his wife would paint them.

Shirley volunteers for the Salvation Army.

Age: 76

Address: 2330 Larson Ave., Albert Lea

Livelihood: retired logging business owner and Concrete Minnesota employee

Family: wife, Shirley; children, Michael, 50, Vicki, 52, Debbie, 54, and Cindy, 56

Interesting fact: He drove race cars from 1959-61.