With great sadness, the family of Dr. Paul Ellsworth Spray announces his death after a short non-COVID-related illness at the age of 99.
He is survived by his sons Dr. David Spray (wife Eliana) and Dr. Thomas Spray (wife Diane), and daughter Lynn Branham (husband Thomas), along with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Dr. Spray was married to his beloved Louise Conover Spray for over 70 years. They first came to the community of Oak Ridge in 1950 where he started his medical practice as one of the first orthopedic surgeons in East Tennessee. Before other specialist surgeons had started to practice in this area, he would spend one day a week treating patients in Crossville, Rockwood and Harriman. He retired from his own practice in 1995, but continued to treat patients in the interfaith clinic until 1998.
Dr. Spray was committed to educating and advancing orthopedic care around the world. He was an early member of Orthopedic Overseas, a group that provided volunteer services for education in orthopedic care in disadvantaged countries. Between 1959 and 1998, Dr. Spray, under the auspices of the international humanitarian organization CARE/MEDICO, made 23 annual month-long trips to developing nations. He became a member of the CARE board of directors and served as vice president. Dr. Spray was awarded the 2013 Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Humanitarian Award in recognition for his decades of compassionate medical care, including teaching orthopedic procedures and lecturing in developing nations, and dedication to provide medical care to impoverished patients in the Appalachian region in East Tennessee.
Dr. Spray was an active member of the United Church of Oak Ridge and a founding member of the West Knoxville Friends Meeting. He and his wife loved their life in Oak Ridge, and especially boating on Norris Lake and their frequent day trips to the nearby mountains. They participated in a number of community organizations, including the Oak Ridge Playhouse, ORICL, Rotary Club, among others. He was a lifelong Oak Ridger, and felt that moving to Oak Ridge was one of the best decisions he ever made.
An interview with Dr. Spray is available through the Oral History of Oak Ridge collection:
A memorial service will be held at a later date.