MANY A CITIZEN has been cited over the years for "community service," but few Washingtonians could match the record of Francis A. Gregory, the popular educator who died here recently at the age of 69. From the time of his Dunbar High School graduation until his death, Mr. Gregory was immersed in civic activities of every constructive sort. Indeed, even a condensed list of his working memberships in local civi groups and charitable organizations runs to several single-spaced pages; so, too, does the compilation of his professional accomplishments and awards as a leader in the development of vocational adult education and job programs and facilities.
Chief among Mr. Gregory's many civic concerns was help in providing adequate training for the unemployed and underemployed, particularly minority groups. He beliefs in the work ethic was strong, growing out of early days working as an electrician to finance his higher education at Case Institute of Technology and Massachussetts Institute of Technology, where Mr. Gregory earned a master's degree in electrical engineering. He then taught adult programs at Armstrong Technical High School here, moving in 1941 to Phelps Vocational High as principal and then returning to Armstrong as principal. In 1951, Mr. Gregory rose to assistant superintendant for industrial and adult education. In 1962, Mr. Gregory became the second-highest ranking black official in the Labor Department, as assistant director of manpower development. Since 1970, he had been serving as a consultant on educational projects.
Throughout these years, Mr. Gregory labored long hours with youth, the physically handicapped, the United Givers Fund, the President's Committee on Equal Opportunity, the Urban League, Family and Child Services and so many more. For the last three years, Mr. Gregory was president of the D.C. Board of Library Trustees - work in which he took a special interest from the time he joined in 1965.
As the hundreds of Washingtonians who worked with Francis Gregory knew, he was never content with nominal participation in the many activities he was called upon to assist. He thrived on these missions and the people of this community can be grateful that his good work touched so many lives for the better.