Retired Putnam Superior Judge Sally Hallof Gray passed away Tuesday. She was 78.
Gray was born in Missouri and came to Indiana to teach economics at DePauw University in 1965. She earned her law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1979. Gray worked as an attorney in Vigo County before running for Putnam County judge in 1981. She was the first woman elected to a trial bench in Putnam County.
She created the Prevention, Intervention and Education Coalition and helped found the local community corrections office and the county’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program. In 1996, she established an endowment fund at the Putnam Community Foundation to support substance abuse treatment programs in the county. The Sally H. Gray Community Endowment was established in 2010, which awards grants to support the needs of Putnam County residents.
She was instrumental in establishing alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders in her community. Gray took and taught numerous courses at the National Judicial College – many on alcohol, drugs and the courts – and at the Indiana Judicial Center. In 1994, she was appointed by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy to a panel on reducing drug use in rural America.
Gray was active in the legal community, working with the Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Judicial Conference and Indiana Judges’ Association.
She retired from the county bench in December 1996, but served as a senior judge until retiring in 2004 so she could more actively fundraise for community groups, including the Putnam County Museum.
Gray was awarded the Putnam County Community Foundation’s Spirit of Philanthropy award in 2010, honored as the foundation’s first Woman Philanthropist of the Year in 2008, and named the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2005. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Evan Bayh in 1994 for her work in the community and state to combat substance abuse.
A memorial service will be held March 24 at Meharry Hall at DePauw University.