The Rutherford Report—Mt. Baldy Mourns Community Leader

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“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”

—Bob Dylan
Mt. Baldy Mourns Community Leader

Mr. Mt. Baldy—the master craftsman who poured his heart and soul into the homes and history of his idyllic mountain community—has passed. Daven Gray was 63.

“I think we have lost a gem,” friend Robert Strickland said. “It’s a big loss for Mt. Baldy. That’s for sure.”

Daven used his talents with wood and stone to shape doorways, staircases, fireplaces, bookshelves and countless other features in homes and buildings throughout the community, and his understanding of the architecture and idiosyncrasies of canyon dwellings made him the go-to contractor for many residents seeking to repair or upgrade their decades-old homes.

“He could see, feel and meld the energy of each piece of rock or wood to reveal a mosaic of life,” Jon Mitchell wrote in a tribute submitted to the community’s newsletter, The Baldy Breeze. “He never looked at his craft as work, but as his artistry.”

Daven also had a knack for bringing people together. He served as the President and moderator of the San Antonio Canyon Town Hall for many years, and he spearheaded the effort to transform an unused U.S. Forest Service ranger’s cabin into a museum to showcase the small mountain town’s history and heritage.

Two local contractors have agreed to take over where Daven left off, and the community hopes to open the Mt. Baldy Museum—Dorothy Wisely History Center in September. There’s even talk of adding Daven’s name to the museum.

Daven helped organize annual community fundraisers such as the Mt. Baldy Run-to-the-Top—the primary source of funding for the Town Hall—and the Steak Fry, which has raised thousands of dollars for the community’s volunteer fire department.

“I don’t know anyone else in the community who is as well respected and has worked with all of the agencies and different groups that he has,” Strickland said. “He was just great at keeping things moving forward.”

Daven’s thoughtful nature and passion for his community touched the hearts of many Mt. Baldy residents, and when The Baldy Breeze solicited tributes to him, it was inundated with submissions recounting Daven’s craftsmanship, volunteerism and dedication to family and friends.

“Of all the beautiful, myriad monuments he left behind, the greatest is Daven’s legacy of love to Brenda and their family, and his unspoken commitment to all of us,” longtime Mt. Baldy resident Maurya Faulk wrote.

Daven Gray is survived by his wife, Brenda; daughters, Kelsey and Mariah; sons-in-law Frank Brannen and Kyle Jochai, and his grandchildren, Travis, Mason, Makenzie and Emma.
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