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Davis Journal

Remembering long-time columnist Bryan Gray

May 31, 2024 07:47AM ● By Tom Haraldsen

Long-time columnist Bryan Gray passed away on Saturday, May 25 at his home. He had fought a long and valiant battle with ocular cancer, something he was diagnosed with and given six months to live. He defied the odds and outlived that prediction by 12 years.

The first time I met Bryan Gray, it was in the office at the Davis County Clipper in 1984, just shortly after we both were hired. Bryan’s role was as a columnist – a humorist – someone designed to look at life not from the sunshiny, “never anything bad happens here in Utah” perspective to the unseen, sometimes darker overtones. His column was called “Cyclops,” – a tribute to the other eye that sees things as they really are, not just how we want or think them to be. 

In those early years writing for the Clipper, he spent many mornings at Sils Cafe in Layton, enjoying coffee and sharing gossip with the regulars. He learned a lot from those folks. It was hard for him when the cafe was torn down and moved to a new location, and many regulars never returned. But there were still plenty of stories to tell – some positive ones, some not so positive. 

He had the ability, as good columnists do, to look at people and politics and make comments or suggestions without taking himself too seriously. He offended some readers, since columns are simply opinions of their authors, but he was also endearing to many, many readers who agreed with his take on the idiosyncrasies, and just plain idiocy, of politicians and public figures and the decisions they make. Some say he leaned too far left, but I think he more accurately leaned toward trying to make things right.

According to his wife Dawn Brandvold, Bryan was a Highland High School alum, received his undergraduate degree at Westminster College and later moved on to the University of Utah for his master’s degree in journalism. His career began as a teacher at Layton High School. For many years while writing his Cyclops column, he also ran his Shades of Gray Communications and Gray Print Media businesses. In the last two decades of his life, right up until his last days, Bryan worked as a salesman for AlphaGraphics, helping many candidates with their print campaigns. He was also active in supporting the Davis Arts Council.

One of the last times my wife and I saw Bryan and Dawn was at a concert at Kenley Amphitheatre in Layton. It rained on all of us that night, but the show went on and it was great. Of course we all stayed and sat in the rain, because as Bryan showed us and so many of us through the years, there was always something good coming through even the darkest of days or nights. He made us laugh, he made us think, he made us look at our lives. He made us better for looking at things from a different point of view. He will be greatly missed.

Thanks, Bryan, for all you contributed to the Clipper and the Davis Journal through the years.