Vehicle club dedicates bench in memory of one particular of its founders

At the corner of West 2nd and North Chestnut streets in downtown Seymour, Tom Grey

At the corner of West 2nd and North Chestnut streets in downtown Seymour, Tom Grey was usually viewed with a typical car or truck.

Irrespective of whether he was there throughout Scoop the Loop or collected with fellow users of the Seymour Area Cruisers car or truck club, Grey produced a frequent visual appeal.

On Dec. 30, 2019, at the age of 52, he died of esophageal cancer.

His memory, even so, now will dwell on by a bench the car or truck club recently committed at that corner.

Various club users and close friends ended up there Sunday — some driving their personal traditional vehicles — to see the bench, which has a logo with an picture of Gray’s 1947 Ford truck and the terms “Tom Gray” and “Scoop” on the back of the seat.

“Everybody that was concerned in receiving this bench for Tom, this will be a remembrance for decades to occur,” reported Steve Cox, president of the Seymour Place Cruisers. “We’ve dropped a whole lot of fantastic members. Which is just component of lifestyle. Let’s keep every little thing heading, hold every little thing in our hearts and minds and views. We’ll have to hold up the good do the job, continue to keep Tom’s legacy going.”

Gray assisted Erin Hays revive the Scoop the Loop tradition in 2011, bringing with each other former and latest citizens for a night time of cruising around downtown and reminiscing about the earlier.

In 2014, Gray was among the 10 people today who begun Seymour Location Cruisers.

In 2016, he was president of the automobile club when customers aided park cars for the inaugural Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car or truck Display. Proceeds from that celebration went towards Fraternal Get of Law enforcement Donald M. Winn Lodge 108’s Cops and Kids application that gives Xmas presents to kids in require.

To date, that celebration has introduced in more than $70,000, said FOP President C.J. Foster.

“A very little over 6 several years back, I fulfilled with Tom and Keith (Cockerham) and we talked about the strategy of a vehicle exhibit, and that was just after we had missing rather a bit of grant revenue from a neighborhood business enterprise in town when they adjusted their criteria on receiving the grant,” Foster reported.

“Word bought out to me that Tom and Keith wished to talk, and we started off this issue and commenced operating on it, and it arrived to light,” he stated. “It has acquired a lot of Christmas provides for a whole lot of kids.”

When Foster read about a bench currently being proposed in Gray’s memory, the FOP agreed to pay for it. The symbol was made by Seymour Large School’s Owl Production, and the bench was produced by Crane Hill Machine and Fabrication Inc.

“For the price tag of the bench, we could not think of a greater way to honor Tom’s legacy and what he did,” Foster mentioned. “In the short five several years that Tom and I quite considerably lived each day for this automobile exhibit and obtained to be rather close about it, I couldn’t assume of a superior way to honor him than this bench. Hopefully, this factor will be here for years to come.”

Cockerham agreed.

“Tom has in all probability been 1 of the largest advocates of the Seymour car or truck culture for the final 10 many years in any case, and it’s good to honor him this way,” he claimed. “We talked about (the bench) just before we at any time got with C.J., and it just type of went nowhere. This prospect arrived along, and it labored out. It was a fantastic relationship.”

Fellow club member Harold Ruddick also mentioned the bench is very well-deserved. His beloved memory of Grey is during the club’s trunk or take care of celebration all over Halloween at Tractor Source Co.

“The 1st a person we experienced, I really don’t believe I saw Tom any happier,” Ruddick stated. “There were like 600, 700 children come through there, and he had a smile from ear to ear. It is just the form of man or woman he was. He was just an all-all around excellent person. Tom experienced a coronary heart as large as all outdoor.”

Also attending Sunday’s commitment was Gray’s sister, Jean Back of Seymour. She explained she’s happy of what her brother achieved in his lifetime.

“A small boy from a poor family on West Fourth Street grew up with almost nothing, had nothing until he went to perform to get it. It’s astounding,” she stated.

All through his everyday living, Grey became buddies with race automobile drivers and region new music singers and was even featured in John Mellencamp videos, Back mentioned.

“Everywhere he went, he experienced good friends,” she stated. “If he did not know any person, he would introduce himself and make buddies.”

One particular of the previous shots of Grey was taken by Margaret Wilson as he drove through downtown Seymour and flashed the peace sign.

Each individual time she passes by the bench, Again claimed she will do that exact same gesture.

“Ah, it’s superb,” she mentioned of the new bench.

David Shoemaker, a longtime friend of Gray, traveled from his home in between Bloomington and Martinsville to show up at Sunday’s commitment.

He satisfied Grey through racing BMX bikes, which Shoemaker continue to does currently.

“I labored at Union Hardware as a bicycle mechanic when I was in junior superior,” Shoemaker claimed. “Everybody arrived in there and purchased their sections, and I crafted their bikes.”

He continue to has fond recollections of hanging out with Gray in downtown Seymour.

“We cruised when we were being kids,” Shoemaker mentioned. “I’m not likely to say we had been juvenile delinquents. We weren’t. But we were being acknowledged as pretty significantly automobile guys and avenue racers and all of that — normally intrigued in the motorsports, anything that had motors that ran.”

He always realized Grey had his back again, as they had a motto “Ride or die.”

“Tom was a person of individuals guys if somebody was giving me crap, he would stand at the rear of me and give it suitable back again,” Shoemaker mentioned.

Even although he no extended lives in Seymour, Shoemaker often has designed it back again to the city for automobile club situations and Scoop the Loop just to see Grey.

“Back in the day, from the block or two previous Larrison’s (Diner) all the way down earlier the put up business office, this was bumper to bumper,” he explained. “It would take an hour to go as a result of city. It was almost everything from very hot rods to mother and dad’s sedans. We however have people today arrive up to us that know our vehicles from back in individuals days.”

Viewing Grey in the healthcare facility in advance of his demise was tough for Shoemaker.

“Standing there with two other men, we’ve all been pals since we have been kids, I shed it,” Shoemaker said. “Here’s a male that is lying there on his deathbed telling me, ‘It’s Alright, Shoe. It’s likely to be Alright.’ He wasn’t nervous about himself. He was ride or die, gentleman. Journey or die. He was hard.”

Back also remembers her brother’s last terms to her: “Don’t you cry for me. I’ve experienced a fantastic everyday living.”

Now, Grey will constantly be remembered when folks see the bench in a place wherever he lived the excellent daily life.

“I believe it’s awesome,” Shoemaker explained.