Carla Gray, only daughter of Helen Gray and the late Wallace Gray, died suddenly at her home in Jamaica Plain, MA. She was 52 and worked for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as Executive Director of Marketing. Carla grew up in Washington Connecticut and attended Rumsey Hall School and graduated from The Oldfields School in Glencoe, Maryland. She graduated from Trinity College in Hartford in 1987. She loved books and began her career in various book shops including Reading International in Harvard Square. She joined Houghton Mifflin 20 years ago, starting in telephone sales before becoming Executive Director of Marketing.
What follows is a tribute to Carla from her friends at Houghton and the many colleagues who came to know her. She was loved and respected.
“Last night (at BookExpo at the Jacob Javits Center) one of Carla’s dear friends, Craig Popelars, organized an impromptu party in her memory at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, site of many a Hellfire party he, Patty Bert and Ruth Liebmann had hosted during past BEA’s. Last night’s reunion featured Carla Gray Gin Gimlets and many hugs, tears and laughs. Craig said in part, ‘I hope we can honor her not just tonight but in everything that we do while we’re in this business’.
Bruce Nichols, Senior Vice President and publisher at HMH, reflected, ‘The world has lost a great champion of the written work, a tireless advocate for authors and a dear friend of booksellers across the country. HMH has lost a beloved colleague of 20 years. We will miss Carla every day.’
Professionally, Carla was tops – she was a tireless and creative promoter, a great mentor and a discerning reader. If Carla said Read It, I did immediately. Personally, Carla was – well make a list of everything you’d want in a friend. She was exuberant, witty, silly, loyal passionate, warm, welcoming and very cool. She could tell a story. It’s not an exaggeration to say she could make any day a holiday and any event a celebration.
She also loved race horses and handicapping her favorite races at which she became quite proficient and had several impressive winning streaks.
She loved books and she loved book people and she loved it all fiercely and we loved her back.”
A funeral will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 78 Green Hill Road, Washington at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to St. John’s Memorial Garden or to Steep Rock (2 Tunnel Road, Washington) in Carla’s memory.
Arrangements by the Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge Street, New Milford, CT.