Charlie Gray Tribute Wall

Charlie dedicated significant leadership, time and energy to Visit Albuquerque serving as a board member and engaged partner for many years. He almost never let a meeting go by without inquiring about “lost business” which became sort of a signature Charlie question and no doubt, underlined that he was paying close attention and had care for making our industry and community better. This was evident in the way he showed up in the world, and he was a vital mentor to so many in the industry including me. Charlie had such a unique sense of humor, and we always enjoyed his clever telegraphs that he authored for many industry roasts and celebrations.

 On a personal note, my family lived in the same neighborhood as Charlie and Kathleen for many years. They watched our kids grow and the Grays definitely supported their fair share of my kids’ school and sports fundraisers for which we were very grateful. My kids fondly remember trick-ot-treating at the Gray’s home and receiving some of Kathleen’s homemade marshmallows.

 Charlie will be deeply missed and fondly remembered! We are grateful for his contributions to our organization, the industry and New Mexico. The Visit Albuquerque team is keeping Kathleen and the entire family in our thoughts.

With gratitude,
Tania Armenta

I relocated to Albuquerque to become the General Manager of the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, a hotel that Charlie previously led. It was during this time that I had the privilege of forging a friendship with him. Immediately, I realized that he was not only a mentor but also a true friend. His wisdom, guidance, and unwavering support have been invaluable to me over the past 12 years. Charlie's impact on my professional growth and personal development cannot be overstated.

One of the reasons we bonded so well is because Charlie and I shared similar paths. We had four hotels in common that we both managed or worked at. Additionally, we both had Rhodesian Ridgebacks as dogs that traveled with us from state to state, hotel to hotel. These shared experiences created a strong connection between us.

Charlie, you have been a beacon of inspiration and a role model for all of us in the hotel community. Your dedication to your craft and your commitment to creating a welcoming and exceptional guest experience have left an indelible mark on our industry. Your legacy will continue to shape the way we approach our work and serve our guests.

Beyond your professional achievements, Charlie, your genuine care and concern for others have touched the lives of countless individuals. Your kindness, generosity, and willingness to lend a helping hand have made a lasting impact on our community. You have created a network of support and camaraderie that extends far beyond the walls of any hotel.

Charlie, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for everything you have taught me. Your wisdom, guidance, and friendship have been invaluable. I am forever grateful for the opportunities you have provided and the lessons you have imparted. You have helped me become a better professional and a better person.

As we bid farewell to Charlie Gray, let us remember the profound impact he has had on our lives and the legacy he leaves behind. May his kindness, wisdom, and passion for hospitality continue to inspire us all. Charlie, thank you for being a guiding light and a true friend. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Yours in Hospitality,
Damen Kompanowski

Charlie Gray was legendary. To me, he represented the ideal person. Dignified, sage, respectful and kind. 

He was proud and protective of his family always. Kathleen, Audrey, Michael, Paul, Alysia, spouses, grandchildren, and now the great grand. They were most important and ranked top of mind always. Without meeting or knowing them all, I feel their deep sadness at his loss, but also the love and devotion they will carry forward.

There was that spark in his eyes, the kindness in his soul that showed through and the ever surprising and clever wit. Charlie made me laugh and he made me slow down to think a little more about my words and actions. He was thoughtful and made wise decisions. I respected that and tried to emulate this fine trait.

There was that spark in his eyes, the kindness in his soul that showed through and the ever surprising and clever wit. Charlie made me laugh and he made me slow down to think a little more about my words and actions. He was thoughtful and made wise decisions. I respected that and tried to emulate this fine trait.

In hospitality he is king! To Albuquerque folks he is an icon. Male, female, young, old, at the top of your game or just starting out we all loved to be recognized by Charlie. The thing is he recognized us all and encouraged us to reach our potential. A smile, a nod this was enough to make us feel good and do better! For these reasons he is legendary.

As a legacy to Charlie let’s strive to do our best, to do a little more than we think we can, to be kind to each other.

Thank you, Charlie, for being my friend. I am better for knowing you. Peace be with you and to your family and friends.

Love, Rebecca Plutino


Indeed, your departure is marking the end to an era for all of us!

Your name and reputation in the community is “The Standard” by which I and many others aspired to cultivate. You’ve been a touchstone and mentor for me, ever since moving to Albuquerque in 2003.

We all appreciated your leadership, surefooted advice and steady hand at the helm of our GAHLA organization along with involvement in other tourism organizations.

I thank you for the sage advice you’ve given me, your thoughtful approaches to our industry and business along with a healthy dollop of humor dispensed over these many years.

Rest assured you are leaving an enviably deep legacy in the community for all of us to follow and we’ll miss you very much.

From your fellow hotelier, 

Karl Holme

Charlie was true a titan in the industry. I had the pleasure of joining the GAHLA board while Charlie was still Executive Director. He was always very welcoming and was the embodiment of Hospitality.

You will be dearly missed.

Sean Jariwala

Charlie was one in a million!  When I first met Charlie I must say I was intimidated; in hindsight I’m not sure why... perhaps due to the difference in our stature as I’m just 4’10”.  Soon I was lucky enough to call him a friend and mentor, giving me advice on how the hotel business works during my tenure on the then Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of directors and later as Board Chair.  His sense of humor is known in the industry.  As one of “Charlie’s Angels”  I was honored to assist him with all things GAHLA.  My most wonderful memory is when  I was with him when he rode on top of the Sandia Peak Tram to celebrate his 75th birthday.  

May Kathleen and his entire family find joy and comfort in the many memories you shared of Charlie.

In hospitality,

Debi Owen
Sandia Peak Tram, Retired 

Charlie Gray was a legendary hospitality professional and exuded a true “Spirit to serve”. 

My close work with Charlie began in 2010 when we decided to roll out the Hospitality Games. Charlie was excited to get the local hotels together to compete in five industry related games. Each hotel would need to send their “A game” players for such skill and expertise - bed making, luggage carrying, setting a table, serving drinks through an obstacle course and housekeeping basketball. 

Charlie’s favorite game was housekeeping basketball, called the “Commode Toss”. The object of the game was to toss as many toilet paper rolls through the commode seat as possible. The rubber bands were used to make sure the toilet paper did not unravel.

All the details of “The Games” Charlie loved to remind me “and Joani, don’t’ forget the rubber bands”. Which became our inside joke. Charlie never forgot about all the details that come with running a hotel. Praising and acknowledging the housekeepers or unsung hero of the hotel was another detail Charlie did not forget.

The Hospitality Games would not have been such a success without Charlie’s guidance. 

Charlie was the true “Hospitality Hero”.

Joani Jones

Address to send cards to:

Kathleen Gray
6331 Southbroom Dr.
Evans GA 30809