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El Dorado Hills community mourns loss of Rubicon Trail crash victim

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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“I love to work and I really love to play. Keep up or get out of my way.” Rachel Anne Gray wrote those words on her Facebook page. By all account the 21-year-old had a zest and passion for life, friends and fun. Gray, 21, of El Dorado Hills died Sept. 2 as a result of injuries she suffered in a Jeep rollover accident on the Rubicon Trail June 28. Gray’s father, Tom, wrote her obituary offering a glimpse into his daughter’s active lifestyle. “(Rachel) packed a lifetime into her 21 years. An avid runner (who ran distance for enjoyment and life balance) and ever the competitor, she completed many distance races including her first ultra-marathon just months before her passing,” Gray wrote. He went on to say that Rachel earned her black sash in the martial art of Kung-Fu and took first in her age group in the Eppie’s Great Race triathlon. “Her desire to embrace nature developed into her love of Yosemite and the challenge of ascending mountains,” he said. Gray suffered third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body and lost a portion of her left leg following a rollover crash on Cadillac Hill along the trail. Since the crash, Gray had undergone several surgeries and skin grafts. Gray’s mother, Leesa Williams, kept friends and family updated on Gray’s progress with Facebook updates. Her last update was Aug. 31 just two days before her daughter would die. “Momma bear update: A fragile day 34. Rach continues to struggle with the respiratory area and we remain vigilant in our watch, prayers, support and the deepest faith for our Missy Poo. God’s hands remain wrapped around her tightly. God bless.” Gray’s stepmother, Bridget Gray, wrote in an email that Gray “was an exceptional young woman who accomplished a great deal in her short life,” she wrote. “She was chair for the air Oaks Youth Advisory Committee, a member of the Teens Encouraging Kids (TEK) Team at the martial arts studio where she earned her black sash in kung-fu.” Friends and family will gather from 1 p.m. to sundown on Sunday at the Prairie City OHV Park to celebrate Gray’s life. A private ceremony was held Monday. Rachel is survived by her parents Leesa Williams, Tom Gray and Bridget Gray; her sister Paige Gray; her brother Tommy Gray; grandparents Darlene Cristler, Dan Cristler and Frances Gray. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rachel Anne Gray Foundation (El Dorado Savings Bank under Rachel Anne Gray account #263017782) which will be used to support the UC Davis Burn Center and the Yosemite Foundation in her memory.