Special Honorary Achievement
Born in Charlestown Township, Franklin Gray, Sr. graduated in 1917 from Ravenna City High School. He served in the U.S. Army in World War I. In 1928, Mr. Gray “came to town” when he opened Vale Edge Dairy, named after his farm in Charlestown Township. His dairy store soon included a soda fountain which became a popular meeting place for teenagers. Later, the Colonial Room Restaurant and Banquet rooms were opened on the second floor under the shared supervision of his beloved wife Katherine. Final changes made the Chestnut Street complex into a supermarket and floral shop, his special interest. Children and grandchildren, alike, have been involved in this local family business.
Franklin’s interest in sports and civic activities never waivered. During the depression years, Vale Edge sponsored the Golden Bears bantamweight football team. Also a major contributor to the Ravenna Athletic Association and construction of Gilcrest Stadium, Franklin was an early inductee to the Portage County Sports Hall of Fame. A longtime devoted member of Ravenna Rotary Club, he created a $500 Ravenna Rotary Scholarship for needy students and a $5000 Scholarship Fund for students in the Food Services Program at Maplewood Area Joint Vocational School. He was also active in the Legion Drum and Bugle Corps, the Ravenna Grange and the First Christian Church. His death in 1989 at age 92 robbed Ravenna schools and sports and civic activities of a dedicated and giving friend.