ATCHISON, KAN., March 1, 2019 — The MGP Ingredients family is saddened at the passing Wednesday of our longtime leader and Chairman Emeritus Cloud L. “Bud” Cray, Jr., at the age of 96. Mr. Cray helped guide the transformation of MGP from an industrial alcohol manufacturer to a leading maker of premium distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches.
“Bud Cray’s strong leadership and passion for the business were instrumental in the growth and expansion of our business. His constant focus on people and teamwork shaped our unique culture,” said CEO and President Gus Griffin. “He leaves an indelible legacy. I feel fortunate to have known Bud and will miss him greatly.”
In addition to his business acumen, Griffin noted, Mr. Cray strongly believed that the company had a responsibility to support the community.
“Bud set a high benchmark and led by example, giving generously of his money, time and talent, an example we will always strive to follow,” Griffin said.
Mr. Cray served countless organizations that impacted quality of life in Atchison, from the public schools and hospital to youth and business organizations.
We remember his service to the Atchison Community Hospital and Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with induction into its Hall of Fame, as well as service on the U.S.D. 409 Board of Education. Mr. Cray also chaired a financial advisory committee that raised private funds for restoration of the historic Santa Fe Depot that now houses the Atchison Historical Society Museum, the Atchison Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce offices.
Along with his family, Mr. Cray was a longtime supporter of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, which honored him and daughter Karen Seaberg with its highest honor, the Spirt of Service Award. Just a few years ago, Mr. Cray served as honorary chairman of an $8.4 million capital campaign to renovate and expand the Atchison Family YMCA, which now bears the family name.
Mr. Cray’s influence was felt far outside his hometown. An avid supporter of the University of Kansas Medical Center, he served as a member of the Advisory Council, and together with his late wife, Sally, established two foundations to support programming there. The Cray Diabetes Medical Organization founded in 1981 supports diabetic research and education and last year donated $2 million to fund a diabetes-focused professorship. Also last year, the Cray family gifted an additional $2 million to the Mid-America Cardiology Center for a cardio-oncology program developed to minimize adverse cardiac events while patients receive cancer treatment. It was the first-ever financial gift to the program since its founding a decade ago.
Another significant Cray family gift in 2018 was funding to establish the Cloud L. Cray and Sally Hunter Cray Center for Innovation in Entrepreneurship for the Think Box at Case Western University, Mr. and Mrs. Cray’s alma mater.
“It would be hard to overstate the impact Bud had on our community. His passion, drive and generosity was far reaching and improved the quality of life for so many. We express our respect and gratitude for his leadership and extend our deepest sympathy to his daughter, Karen, chairman of the MGP board of directors, and the entire Cray family,” Griffin said.
Founded in 1941, MGP (Nasdaq: MGPI) is a leading supplier of premium distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. Distilled spirits include bourbon and rye whiskeys, gins and vodkas, which are expertly crafted through a combination of art and science backed by a long history of experience. The company's proteins and starches are created in the same manner and provide a host of functional, nutritional and sensory benefits for a wide range of food products. MGP additionally is a top producer of high quality industrial alcohol for use in both food and non-food applications. The company is headquartered in Atchison, Kansas, where distilled alcohol products and food ingredients are produced. Premium spirits are also distilled and matured at the company’s facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. For more information, visit mgpingredients.com.