Gray was elected as a Democrat to 12 terms in Congress, serving from 1955 until 1974 and then from 1985 until 1989.
He was known as the "Prince of Pork," because of his ability to bring federal projects, and federal money, back to the region.
Gray operated Gray Motors in West Frankfort in the 1940s and 1950s. He also operated small airports in West Frankfort and Benton. He was a colorful character, known for his colorful sports jackets and the colorful stories he would tell.