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Scholarship established for Huntington icon

Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House has been well known and highly regarded in the Huntington community for numerous decades. Recently, Larry and Cheryl Tweel, on behalf of the entire Tweel family, which owns the restaurant, established a scholarship in memory of one of the two most important people responsible for its success, C.M. “Bunny” Gray.

The C.M. “Bunny” Gray Scholarship benefits underserved and underrepresented minorities in Huntington and the Tri-State area. Specifically, it will assist first-generation, incoming freshmen who are in academic good standing and demonstrate financial need, per the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The award is renewable for four years, as long as the student remains in good academic standing.

“We chose to honor Mr. Gray through the establishment of a scholarship because he was an inspiration to the Tweel family, as someone who was dedicated to his family and to his work and gave full effort to see that both prospered. He always had his family and Jim’s employees’ best interests in mind when leading either his family or the employees of Jim’s. He treasured the pursuit of higher education and encouraged his family and those in his community to pursue it,” said Larry Tweel.

Gray graduated from Douglass High School in 1942 and entered the U.S. Navy during World War II. In the Navy, he served as a First Class Petty Officer until he was honorably discharged in 1945.

When he returned to his hometown of Huntington, he applied for a job at Jim’s Restaurant, where he had worked part time while in high school. Jim Tweel, the owner and operator, interviewed Bunny and offered him a job. Bunny’s one condition upon accepting was that there would be no impediments in his way of moving up within the business.

“In approximately ten years, Bunny became the general manager at Jim’s Restaurant. Mr. Gray was in charge of the food preparation, as well as eventually assisting Mr. Tweel with the management of personnel. Along with my father, Jim, Mr. Gray is responsible for the success of the restaurant,” said Larry Tweel. After a long and successful career, Gray retired at age 81 due to deteriorating health.

Bunny and his wife, Marion T. “Bunche” Gray, had two children, Oliva Gray Stewart, now a resident of Washington, D.C., and C. Michael Gray of Huntington, West Virginia, who obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin and taught business law at Ohio University for many years. Bunny and Bunche Gray have three grandchildren, all of whom are college graduates.

Described as a tireless worker and loyal supporter of his church, First Baptist Church in Huntington, West Virginia, Bunny Gray served as a mentor to the young African American community and was a strong supporter of social justice issues.

The Tweels say they hope that all students, particularly those who receive this scholarship, study hard and participate in extracurricular activities while at Marshall University. “Cheryl and I are first-generation college graduates and are fully aware of the advantages of higher education,” said Larry Tweel. “There are still, in our community, members of families with no college-educated members. We need to fund scholarships for those people who need help financially to pursue their dream of a college education. We are blessed to have this opportunity to help Marshall students.”

For more information about the C.M. “Bunny” Gray Scholarship, please contact Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at 304-696-3162.