Alice Gray, 90, a leading Phila.-area golfer

Alice Gray , encouraged by her father to try the sport, twice won state amateur golf crowns, among many other honors.
Alice Gray , encouraged by her father to try the sport, twice won state amateur golf crowns, among many other honors.
Posted: August 04, 2014

Alice Gray, 90, a standout amateur golfer and later a golf pro at two Philadelphia-area country clubs, died Friday, July 25, of causes related to aging at Barclay Friends in West Chester, where she had lived since 1996.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., Ms. Gray was the daughter of Jerome B. Gray, an advertising copywriter and founder of the Philadelphia firm Gray & Rogers. Her mother, Miriam A. Fertig Gray, was a former nurse.

Ms. Gray grew up in the Dower House on North High Street in West Chester, among the oldest homes in town. She lived there most of her life.

As a schoolgirl, Ms. Gray showed athletic talent. She was active in sports while attending Wilmington Friends School in Delaware and as an undergraduate at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Her father, an active golfer and onetime president of Merion Golf Club, encouraged her to try the sport. His suggestion paid off: She won many golfing honors, including the Dorothy Campbell Howe Cup at Merion in 1964.

She also won six straight women's club championships from 1948 to 1953. Her amateur career culminated with two Pennsylvania State Women's Amateur golf championships in 1961 and 1963.

On July 24, 1963, she ousted the defending champion, Ginny Dyson, of Valley Country Club near Hazleton, in an early round of the 27th Pennsylvania Women's Golf Association tournament.

"Mrs. Dyson and Miss Gray halved the 10th and 11th holes, and then Miss Gray went to work, winning four straight holes," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Because female golf professionals were not paid well to compete at the club level in the 1960s, Ms. Gray became a ladies pro and instructor at West Chester Golf & Country Club, and starting in 1970, at Edgmont Country Club in Newtown Square. She was "the ice-breaker" in the "acceptance of women as teaching pros in the Philadelphia area," wrote Fred Byrod, in his Inquirer golf column Aug. 21, 1983.

Ms. Gray was well-suited for the work. "Her low-pressure advice and good humor gained her hundreds of students, both male and female," said her nephew, Philip Jamison III.

When off the links, she enjoyed gardening and painting in watercolors.

Ms. Gray never married. In addition to her nephew, she is survived by nieces and a brother-in-law. Her sister, Jane Gray Jamison, died in 2008.

A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Oaklands Cemetery, West Chester.

Donations may be made to Barclay Friends, 700 N. Franklin St., West Chester, Pa. 19380.


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