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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Former Congressman Ken Gray has died

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  • Retired Congressman Kenneth J. Gray died late Saturday at the age of 89.
    He was born in West Frankfort on Nov. 14, 1924, to Thomas and Anna Gray. He graduated from Frankfort Community High School, and served in the 12th Air Force in North Africa and the Fifth Army in Italy during World War II.
    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. During his time in Congress, major projects such as Rend Lake, the Marion federal penitentiary, and Interstates 57, 64 and 24 were funded that changed the face of Southern Illinois. 
    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.
    Gray's funeral arrangements are pending at Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort.

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