It is with the deepest regret and sorrow that we have to say our dear friend and colleague, Kevin Gray, passed away suddenly from a recently diagnosed heart condition on Tuesday November 30, 2021 at the age of 33.
We want everyone in the Flutter community to know and remember his name for what he did for us all.
Many have seen or experienced his work — Kevin played a vital role in making Flutter what it is today. But Kevin was not a self-promoter, he was the ultimate team player, and as a result not many know the scope of his accomplishments.
Kevin was one of the primary developers of the Hamilton app — the first commercial app built outside of Google to demonstrate Flutter to the world.
Kevin was the developer of the “Flutter Slides” app, which was used at the Flutter Live event in 2018 to first demonstrate Flutter’s ability to run as a native macOS app. He reprised that work a year later for Flutter Interact in Brooklyn.
Kevin worked on the New York Times KENKEN app that demonstrated the capabilities of Flutter on the Web to the Google I/O audience in 2019.
Kevin was also one of the original members of Very Good Ventures. Without his commitment to the company, there would likely have never been a VGV. Over the last 3.5 years, he contributed to many Flutter projects for at least 14 different VGV clients.
While we got to know Kevin and understand his impact at VGV, he is an unsung hero of the Flutter community. Always kind, modest, humble, and unwavering in his commitment, Kevin’s brilliance and hard work was done mostly from the shadows. But, Kevin had a hand in many of the earliest influential Flutter apps and many of the Flutter community’s key moments.
Most importantly, Kevin was the definition of a good person and a great teammate. You’d be hard pressed to find someone more kind, more friendly, and more willing to help. He was up for anything and never asked for anything. You could count on him like you could count on the sun rising.
Kevin is irreplaceable. He’ll always be a member of our team. We will miss him dearly.
Please take a moment to honor him and remember him.
Kevin’s obituary can be found here: link.
If you would like to support a cause that was important to Kevin, Plan International, you may do so at: https://www.planusa.org/donate/ Please select the “Dedicate this donation to someone” checkbox, add “Kevin Gray” as the Honoree name, and mail the card to the following address: “D Gray, PO Box 861 White Plains, NY 10602”.
My personal relationship with Kevin goes back to January 2015 when we hired him as an intern at Posse. I remember his first interview. He was clearly nervous and there were frequent pauses of silence as he collected his thoughts. Many companies would likely have passed based on the interview. But we gave him a shot. After all, we weren’t interested in how he interviewed — we were interested in who he was.
Kevin is from Westchester in New York, and he studied game development in college. He always had a passion for games. He was an extremely dedicated Pokemon Go player — I bet he was still playing on his last day. In his professional career, he shifted his talents to mobile app development. First, he learned to be a great iOS engineer, then he learned Android. He emerged as a prolific member of our team. He was involved in the development of more native apps than I am able to count (or at least remember).
In 2017, he jumped into Flutter development for the Hamilton app. Flutter was in its infancy and there were no answers on Stack Overflow. It was unclear if Flutter was going to be a good move professionally. None of us had any idea what we were doing. Kevin never batted an eye. He jumped in and never asked why we were doing this. When he hit a challenge or a roadblock he worked the problem until he found a solution. I don’t ever remember Kevin complaining. I only remember the confidence that if you gave Kevin a task, you knew it’d get done and get done well.
Later, along with myself and Albert Lardizabal, Kevin was one of the founding members of Very Good Ventures. It was a difficult moment for all of us as our future was very uncertain. It would have been perfectly reasonable for Kevin to look for more stability and better opportunities elsewhere. But he stuck with us.
Without Kevin there would be no VGV. All of the things that VGV has gone on to become would not have happened if Kevin hadn’t taken the leap of faith to enable the new company to get started. From there, Kevin did much of the early work as we ultimately decided to take on more Flutter work and become a consultancy. He continued to maintain and improve the Hamilton app, but he also took on any new project — no matter how perfect, no matter how poorly scoped, no matter how interesting, and no matter how stressful.
And he loved his job. In a recent review when asked “What would make the next 6 months successful for you?”, he responded:
To be honest I can't say that I ever feel unhappy with my job. I feel really fortunate that I like programming as much as I do and that this is the career path I've chosen.
At VGV, Kevin found confidence and a role that really suited him and that he loved. I and his other VGV teammates trusted him immensely. I often say that trust in each other is the most important thing a team needs in order to continue to be successful. We all trusted Kevin fully.
Ultimately, Kevin was the perfect teammate and a terrific friend. He was talented, reliable, quick with a smile, funny, curious and explorative, humble and self-effacing, always willing to lend a hand, and serious without taking himself too seriously.
Over the years, Kevin has been a constant. It’s hard to accept he’s not going to respond on slack, review a pull request, or meet us for a beer. It’s hard to accept that we’ve lost a friend we know will be there for us. It’s hard to accept that he isn’t going to get to see what this great company he helped start will become. It’s just hard to accept.
All we can do now is honor and remember Kevin. His impact and mark is clear and powerful. He is going to live on as a part of VGV forever.
We’ll miss you Kevin.