In memoriam: Jim Gray sacrifices life in attempt to save children

Man in suit and tie

On Friday, June 23, 2017, HCA Healthcare employee Jim Gray was vacationing in Fort Morgan, Ala. when he heard the cries of several children struggling in the Gulf of Mexico’s rocky waters. In a heroic attempt to rescue them (the children were later located safe), Jim ignored the hazard warnings, entered the surf and was pulled under by the tide. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him. He was 57 years old.

As the director of real estate for HCA Healthcare’s North Texas division for almost six years, Jim had overseen real estate operations in Dallas, executing the real estate transactions in support of the strategic market initiatives put into place by the division leadership. In addition to this, he was responsible for the financial performance of the North Texas Division MOB portfolio in concert with maintaining the high HCA Healthcare standards for tenant satisfaction.

Nick Paul, vice president of real estate for HCA Healthcare and Jim’s boss and friend, recalls Jim’s character, saying, “He was a high-quality individual with integrity and honesty and the desire to perform well. Jim was good at what he did, but not heavy-handed in his approach and he knew his role very well. He was extremely down-to-earth and everyone in our organization, from property managers to lawyers, thought very highly of him. No one who knew Jim was surprised to learn of what he was doing when he lost his life.”

Although Jim’s role was not patient-facing, he felt an extraordinary call to serve others, truly showing his commitment to HCA Healthcare’s mission when he dove into the water to help those children.

Jim was an incredibly valued member of HCA Healthcare’s real estate team, and they will likely rename one of their internal service awards after him to honor his memory. When he thinks about Jim’s legacy and what he would want to be remembered for, Nick says, “Jim was the kind of man who would likely want to be remembered for his integrity, his ethics, and his honesty.”

Jim will be remembered as a family man who cared deeply for his three sons: Jacob, Tyler, and Parker. “He coached them all in baseball and was just a typical Texas dad who was very involved in his kids’ lives. He was completely loving and supportive of each of them,” says Nick.

We’re proud to introduce you to an HCA Healthcare Hero who exemplifies service and compassion in the truest form.

Visit Jim’s memorial page to learn more about his life:

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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