Herb Gray's death called 'end of era' for Windsor Liberals
Local politicians are remembering former Windsor West Liberal MP and deputy prime minister Herb Gray.
The 82-year-old Gray died Monday. He was first elected in 1962 and held the riding until 2002.
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Former Windsor West Liberal MPP Sandra Pupatello says his death is the end of an era.
"[It's] an era of the Liberal party, and for us, he was like the grandfather or the godfather of Windsor," Pupatello said. "Windsor was No. 1 to him all the time, even after he left politics."
Current Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse said Canada has lost a fixture in Canadian politics.
"The length of service, being 39 years in the same riding, is pretty significant. But also, too, is the way his demeanour was in the House of Commons," Masse said.
Gray also worked with the International Joint Commission.
"I think that says something about him being a workhorse for public service," Masse said of Gray's other work.
Former Ontario Liberal Finance Minister and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Dwight Duncan says he has lost a true friend and mentor.
Duncan volunteered for Gray, a man he says had a real effect on people's lives.
"People would tell me about what he had done for their family or for a friend, and so in spite of all his enormous achievements for the community, it was really more about what he did for individual citizens of Windsor," Duncan said.
Gray was one of the longest-serving parliamentarians Canada has ever had.
Gray held a number of cabinet portfolios during his political career, culminating with five years as deputy prime minister before his retirement in 2002.
Windsor's west side is represented at the municipal level by Coun. Ron Jones, who says he enjoyed dealing with Gray over the years.
"He was certainly a gentleman on all occasions, one who was extremely approachable at all settings," Jones said. "Truly, Windsor's lost another giant."
Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson posted condolences on his Facebook page, where he called Gray "a political legend."
"A frustrating 'Gray Fog' to his opponents, loved by his colleagues, and a man who earned every ounce of respect the public had for him," Watson posted, in part. "Following Eugene Whelan's passing a year ago - and the more recent passing of the Hon. Jim Flaherty - the political world is consoling itself once again.
"My thoughts and prayers, joined by those of my wife Sarah and so many from our region, go out to the family and friends of Herb Gray, especially the Liberal family who have lost another dear one."