Archibald Duncan Gray Jr. passed away on 29 October 2018 at the age of 80 in Durango, Colorado after a period of ill-health during which he showed great courage. He leaves behind his loving family: his wife, Nina Gray, four sons, Duncan III, Matthew Hill, Joseph Sharp and Michael Branch, and two grandchildren, Archie and Arwen. He is also survived by his sister, Lucy Gray Arnold of Houston, and by nieces, nephews, and extended family and many friends, all of whom he treasured.
Duncan was born in Houston, Texas, on 12 July 1938. Throughout his life he was extremely proud of his identity as a Texan and as a Houstonian. He came from a family whose roots in Texas legal history started with the tragedy of his grandfather, a Texan judge, who legend has it was fatally shot as a result of a judgement he had passed. Duncan's father, Archie Gray, became the senior Vice President and General Counsel of Gulf Oil Corporation. During his own career in law Duncan was renowned as a highly esteemed lawyer on the world stage.
In recent years his reputation went before him in Europe: he won a key, influential position in England at a stage of life when most people might have been thinking of retiring.
Duncan attended St. John's School before moving to Pittsburgh at the age of fourteen with his father Archie Gray after the early death of his mother, Lucie Hill Gray. As the sole Texan in his boarding school, Shadyside Academy, he carved out a place for himself as a popular student and respected friend. He established what were to become lifelong friendships and the vivid recollections of the times they spent together are treasured by his family.
After Shadyside, Duncan won a place at his beloved Dartmouth College, where he became a scholar of history. He went on to the University of Michigan Law School, and then NYU for a Graduate LLM. Throughout his education a pattern was emerging of a highly individual gifted young man who gained respect and friends wherever he went.
Duncan always considered Houston as home and when he was asked to join the law firm Baker Botts it was a step towards the pre-eminence he was to gain in his legal career. He went on to Pennzoil Corporation and in 1982, joined the global law firm Mayer, Brown & Platt in their Denver office as a partner in their energy sector. In 1983 after acclaimed work for United Gas Pipeline, Duncan opened the Houston office of Mayer Brown, where he led the office and played a significant role on its Global Executive Committee for many years. It was when he opened their Houston office in 1983, that he met his wife Nina: it was to be a marriage that spanned thirty four years.
At Mayer Brown, Duncan was responsible for the successful development of their Houston office and again established long - term friendships. He was instrumental in the firm's Mexico City affiliation and brought in very substantial business from the former Soviet Union. From Mayer Brown, Duncan was recruited by yet another prominent global law firm and in 1996 joined Baker McKenzie where he co-founded their Houston operation with Baker Botts partners and lifetime friends John Cogan and Ken Culotta.
In 2008, a British law firm, Gowlings WLG, sought him out as part of their global expansion efforts and he relocated to London, England, with his wife and their youngest son Michael. Duncan enjoyed his career in London and was highly respected for his global energy sector experience, his fluency in Russian and the comprehensive knowledge of the former Soviet Union and the “Stans” which underpinned his major business achievements. The Brits he interacted with both personally and professionally found him to be a larger than life personality, brilliant intellectually, globally aware, and someone who could be relied on to add great optimism, unmatchable experience, and an element of fun to any event or meeting at which he was present. Duncan toured the world with the London based Australian disputes lawyer JP Douglas-Henry, who now co-heads the global disputes practice at DLA Piper who had persuaded him to come to London, chasing down deals and disputes and they and their respective families became fast friends. Duncan was very aptly referred to as "an elder statesman in the global energy sector" when he was sought out by at the age of seventy five by two other top British global law firms, Clyde & Co and King & Wood Mallesons, who competed for his talent at opening up frontier markets for them.
Duncan was a lifelong, loyal member of the Houston Country Club where his passion for and love of the game of golf gave him immense pleasure. He was also a member of the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, the Little Ship Yacht Club in London, and enjoyed for many years his membership at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver and Riverhill in Kerrville; and he played golf on courses throughout the USA, England, Scotland, Russia and the Caribbean.
Duncan was resolute in his determination to provide for his family and to make sure each of his sons received a good education. He was a renaissance man who treasured family and friends alike, and he maintained friendships that spanned a lifetime - he was fun to be with and there was seldom a dull moment in his company. An avid reader, he especially loved history and continued to read widely in that field throughout his life.
He remained very proud of his Scottish ancestry and cherished the times he spent in Scotland.
Duncan had suffered significant health challenges since 2002 but always rose above these: he proved himself a true fighter again and again and his family and close friends greatly admired his spirit of determination and his courage.
Duncan will be - and is - tremendously missed. He was referred to as a "lion of a man" and a "giant of a man" by those who knew him. One of his Texan colleagues said upon receiving news of his passing, "The Lion is roaming the Savannah now".
A memorial service will be held at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas on 19 November at 11.00 am, with Rev. Bill Denham officiating. A reception will follow in the Hines Baker Room.
If desired, donations may be made to the following: Gray family, P.O. Box 408, East Boothbay, Maine 04544; St. Luke's United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 22013, Houston, Texas 77227-2013; St Johns School, 2401 Claremont Lane, Houston, Texas 77019; The Joy School, 1 Chelsea Blvd., Houston, Texas 77006; St James Senior Boys School, Church Road, Ashford TW15 3DZ England; or to Dartmouth College (Class of 1960), Hanover, New Hampshire. Online messages and tributes can be made @ https://obittree.com Hood mortuary, Durango, Colorado (Archibald Duncan Gray).