The Right Honourable Herb Gray, P.C., C.C., Q.C., passed away peacefully at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus on Monday, April 21, 2014, at the age of 82. Herb Gray was Canada’s first Jewish federal cabinet minister. He was first elected to Parliament on June 18, 1962. He represented the people of Windsor West for almost 40 years, making him one of the longest serving Members of Parliament in Canadian history. He was elected in 13 consecutive elections.
During his long parliamentary career, he served in 11 different cabinet posts and in leadership positions in the opposition, including Opposition House Leader and Leader of the Opposition. When he left Parliament in January 2002, he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. He was then given the title, Right Honourable, by the Governor General, a title normally reserved for Prime Ministers and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.
From 2002 until 2010, he served as Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States. In November 2008, Gray was appointed to a three-year term as Carleton University’s 10th Chancellor. In November 2012, he became the first recipient of the Laurier Leadership Award presented by the Liberal Party of Canada for his many years of public service. Later that November, the Windsor-Essex Parkway was named The Right Honourable Herb Gray Parkway.
Throughout his career, Gray was guided by principles of social justice, good governance, sound democratic processes and programs that create opportunities for all.
Herb Gray was a Companion of the Order of Canada and received numerous awards from universities, governments and community organizations.
Herb Gray is survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharon Sholzberg-Gray, his children, Dr. Jonathan Gray and Elizabeth Gray-Smith, and eight grandchildren.