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Barbara E. Gray, 87; state representative from Framingham forged path for women on Beacon Hill

Ms. Gray advocated strongly for antidiscrimination bills, no-fault divorce laws, and seat-belt laws.
Ms. Gray advocated strongly for antidiscrimination bills, no-fault divorce laws, and seat-belt laws.

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First elected in 1972 to be a state representative, Barbara E. Gray spent 24 years on Beacon Hill forging a path for women who wanted to be lawmakers.

There were only eight women among the 240 legislators when Ms. Gray, a mother of four, first took the bus from Boston’s western suburbs into the rooms of power where she had to share a restroom with the men.

“Like castaways on a desert island, we had to band together and draw on strength and patience we didn’t know we had in order to survive and succeed,” she wrote in her 2002 memoir, “A Woman’s Ways & Means.”

Ms. Gray, who retired from state politics in 1996 and lived in Wellfleet, died March 28. She was 87.

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