Cloud L. “Bud” Cray Jr. passed away peacefully with his daughters and caretakers by his side at his home in Atchison, Kansas, the morning of February 27, 2019.
Memorial services will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, March 8th, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church, 302 N. 5th St., Atchison KS, with the Rev. Dr. Rachel Dannar officiating. The family will receive friends on Thursday, March 7th, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home, 800 Kansas Ave, Atchison, KS. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Mission Creek Camp, founded by Ken & Cathy Scroggs, or the First Presbyterian Church, or the Cray Diabetes Medical Research Foundation, or the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation and they all may be sent in care of the funeral home. Condolences to the family may be left online at www.beckerdyer.com.
Bud was born on November 7, 1922 to Cloud L. Cray Sr. and Edna Mae in Detroit, Michigan. He shared a birthday with his father.
He spent his youth in Michigan, leaving for Shattuck Military Academy in Minnesota for his senior year in high school.
Bud met the love of his life, Sarah Jane (Sally) Hunter while attending Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated with honors in 1943, with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He was active with several groups including Alpha Chi Sigma, Tau Kappa Alpha, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, AIChE, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and was very proud of his participation with the Debate Club, Speakers Bureau, and Photography Club.
He and Sally were married in 1944, the same year he was drafted into the U.S Army. He served in Livorno, Italy, as a Staff Sergeant during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1946.
Bud briefly worked with Dow Chemical Corp. before joining Midwest Solvents Company, now known as MGP Ingredients, Inc., in Atchison as a fulltime executive in 1947 and became a member of the company’s Board of Directors in 1957. In 1962, he succeeded his father as president of the company. In 1980, one year after his father’s death, Bud became chief executive officer and began his first term as chairman of the Board of Directors, where he served for several years. In 2014 at the age of 90, he once more took on the role of Board Chairman and retired in August, 2015, as Chairman Emeritus.
His community and civic contributions are too numerous to mention, but include a variety of medical, educational, business, and philanthropic endeavors.
Bud was known as “Dr. Cray,” as he tirelessly took care of Sally and her diabetes. They founded the Cray Diabetes Medical Research Foundation at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1981, now directed by Dr. David Robbins. Bud also cared deeply about Dr. Charles Porter and Mid-America Cardiology at KU Medical Center. The Atchison Hospital Association was another love of his, and he served on the Board of Trustees for nearly 30 years.
Educational ventures included his service as a school board member with the U.S.D. 409 school district. He was very proud to be a charter member of the Human Relations Commission of Atchison in the late 1960’s. He continued to support Atchison Juneteenth until his death. Bud also developed the Atchison Community Education Foundation in partnership with Benedictine College to give a full-ride 4-year scholarship to one at-risk Atchison youth each year; and he and his brother, Dick Cray, founded the Cray Center for Entrepreneurship at Benedictine. He rewarded his and Sally’s alma mater by establishing the Cloud L. Cray and Sally Hunter Cray Center for Innovation in Entrepreneurship in the Think Box at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Several business and professional organizations benefited from Bud’s philanthropy and service. He was a director for the former City National Bank of Atchison, Commerce Bank of Kansas City, and Security Benefit Life Insurance Company, to name a few.
The United Way was very dear to Bud’s heart. In 1977, he conducted the first successful United Way campaign in Atchison in 17 years. He was also active in projects benefiting the Atchison Family YMCA as a lifelong member. Other leadership efforts in the Atchison community included work on the historic Santa Fe Depot, and the Evah C. Cray Historical Home Museum. The Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce honored Bud with induction into its Hall of Fame. He later was awarded the Cray Vision of Excellence Award created by the Santa Fe Depot Trustees to honor his service to the community.
Bud was a life-long member of the First Presbyterian Church in Atchison, and served for several years as a church elder. Bud and his father, Cloud, created the Presbyterian Community Center endowment which continues to support the Theatre Atchison building to this day. Bud loved teaching adult Sunday School classes for over 50 years. He also worked with the Pony Express Council of the Boy Scouts of America on the executive board and finance steering committee.
Bud enjoyed his time with civic organizations such as Kiwanis, the Elks, and the Masons. He was the longest living member of the Atchison Elks with 70 plus years of membership.
He was proud of his membership with the Young President’s Organization in Kansas City, the Kansas City President’s Organization and World Business Council, which led to many wonderful trips that included his family.
Ringing the Bell at NASDAQ Headquarters in New York City in 2016 at the age of 94 with MGP staff and board members was one of the highlights of his illustrious career.
Family members remember “Farmer Cray” with his love of gardening, driving his tractor and spraying his fruit trees. Whether it was nurturing his strawberries, raspberries and asparagus—or baling hay on the tractor, Bud was a “happy farmer.” He so enjoyed his time at the Lake of the Ozarks surrounded by Sally and his family and sailing in his little Sailfish. In the early years, Bud and Sally liked playing bridge and going to the Frog Hop in St. Joseph to dance with friends. His mornings swimming, evenings by the player piano, and boisterous “Bravos” at all family and theatre performances will always resonate with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Bud forever will be remembered as the eternal optimist who loved his family, MGP and Atchison and thought every experience in life was “the Best!’
Survivors include three daughters, Susan H. (Stephen) Robbins, Red Lodge, MT, Karen L. Seaberg, Atchison, KS, and Cathy L. (Kenneth) Scroggs, Manhattan, KS., a sister Patricia L. Cray (George) Page, Gilbert, SC, six grandchildren, three step grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. His parents, wife Sally, two sons, Kenneth Allen Cray, and an infant baby, a son-in-law, Laidacker (Ladd) Seaberg, brother Richard B. “Dick” Cray, and sister, Barbara A. Jeffries, preceded him in death.