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Memorial Service

St Luke United Methodist Church
Saturday March 19th, 2022

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Davenport Christian Life Center
Saturday March 19th, 2022
1:00pm - 2:45pm

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Paul Beasley Gay

Paul Beasley Gay, 90 of Sanford passed away Wednesday March 16, 2022. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 3:00pm Saturday (3/19/2022) at St Luke United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends in the Davenport Christian Life Center from 1:00 until 2:45pm Saturday.

Mr. Gay was born in Saratoga, NC, a son of the late William Edgar Gay and Mary Horton Gay. After graduating from Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson, NC, he went on to East Carolina College on a football scholarship, where he graduated in 1956 with a Batchelor of Science.  After teaching and assistant football coaching positions in Lancaster, SC and Raleigh, NC, he landed his first Head Football Coaching position at age 28, at Sanford Central High School in 1960.


During a 24-year coaching career at Sanford Central High School, later named Lee County High School, his teams won 177 games, for an average of just under 8 wins per year.  The football stadium was named in his honor, and a bust to dedicate his career and accomplishments, was place on the grounds in 2019.  Following his retirement from teaching and coaching, he was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the East Carolina University Sports Hall of Fame, and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.


He was an avid golfer in retirement, and he loved spending time with family and friends.

The third youngest among 9 children, he was preceded in death by brothers, Clarence, David, James, John and Bobby, and sisters Kathleen Scott and Nannie Lee Pridgen.


Mr. Gay is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jean Buchanan Gay; three sons, Paul B. Gay Jr and wife Laura, Douglas M. Gay and wife Liz, and Joseph B. Gay and wife Cindy; grandchildren, Mary Beth Bradberry and husband Kenny, Michelle Cowherd and husband Charles, Shelby Davis, Callie Davis, Douglas M. Gay Jr and wife Courtney, Kenan W. Gay and wife Liz, Lee B. Gay and wife Martha, Elizabeth Cozart and husband Harrison, Kaitie Gay, Cassie Gay and Carson Gay; great grandchildren, Parker Bradberry, Mark Cowherd, Wells Gay, Brooks Gay, and Kenan Elizabeth Cozart; a sister Frances G. Harrell.

Memorial contributions can be made to St Luke United Methodist Church, 2916 Wicker St, Sanford, NC 27330 or to Community Hospice, 1836 Doctors Dr, Sanford, NC 27330.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul Gay, please visit our flower store.


A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Keith Pressley Jun 8 2022 3:13 PM

Coach was a solid, solid man. To my, and so many of us, for our time together

Jerry Smith Mar 24 2022 9:59 PM

Coach Gay was my Driver's Ed teacher, and left a lasting impression on my life! He was always so patient, kind and funny. He was a great coach and mentor. I will be praying for your family during this difficult to me.

Jackie Reece (Jones) Mar 23 2022 9:50 PM

Always will remember him as setting up my 401k . He was a really sweet person.

Laura Chezem Mar 22 2022 10:51 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Roxanne Fitzpatrick Mar 20 2022 4:20 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Bobby Ballinger Mar 20 2022 10:34 AM

When Barb and I moved to Sanford in 1973, we were half a continent away from our nearest family. Paul and Jean helped make Sanford feel like home. They shared a lot of wisdom with us on everything from teaching and coaching to raising a family. Paul mentored me on becoming a better coach and Jean helped Barb adjust to the life of a coach's wife. Fritz always thought it was a special treat to go over to their house a play with Joe's trains. Good times with great people. May God bless you all.

Steve Baier Mar 19 2022 5:43 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Sue Elliott Mar 19 2022 4:02 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Katie Daniels Mar 19 2022 9:41 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Paul Gay

Cameron, Madison and Finley Daniels Mar 19 2022 9:40 AM

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