Joyce L. Gray passed away peacefully on Jan. 5, 2021 in Safford, Arizona from Alzheimer’s.
She was born Sept. 9, 1930 in Seattle, Washington to Katherine and Chet Whittington. She was the oldest of five siblings and at a young age she helped her family by working on the local farms. Later in her teen years she worked at an apple canning factory, pricing merchandise in a retail store and learning how to tie fishing flies in a sporting goods store.
While attending high school in Auburn, Washington, she had the nickname Trippy. These early years guided her to helping people young and old. Joyce met the love of her life Paul W. Gray. They were married June 16, 1948. They were blessed with three children, Wayne, Gary and Lori.
Joyce loved doing volunteer work for the hospital, Women’s Auxiliary and raising money for the Heart Association. She was a 4H leader, working with teenage girls and teaching them: home care, cooking and everyday living. She had a love for horses and also helped with the 4H horse riding group. While also working with teenagers, she was able to help start a Jr/Sr bowling league. Joyce enjoyed bowling in mixed leagues, they often said Joyce was their handicap, but she brought fun and laughter to the games.
Joyce and Paul were married 60 years, while living in Morenci, Paul worked for the Phelps Dodge Copper Mine. After he retired, they moved to York Valley. Paul passed away in 2008, Joyce decided to move to Safford to be closer to her family. When she had the opportunity, she loved to travel with her brother David. Joyce had a great sense of humor, and a fun-loving wit about her. She loved visiting with family and friends, shopping and driving her Mustang Convertible. She didn’t go anywhere without her red lipstick.
Joyce is survived by her two sons, Wayne (Edwina) Gray, Gary (Ingrid) Gray and her daughter Lori Sedgeman. Her grandchildren: Aron (Crystal) Gray, Arleta (Ramon) Gray, Gary Jr.,( Andrea) Gray, Amber Gray, Lisa (Lance) Shurtz, Michael (Carissa) Sedgeman. Her great-Children: Lily Gray, Xaiden Gray, Brody, Cole, Delaney, Elizabeth Gray, David Haskins, Garret (Crystal), Tyler, Landen, Lathen, Lanae Shurtz. Great-great grandchildren: Logan and Brynn Shurtz. Her brother David Bates, plus many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Joyce is preceded in death by her husband Paul W. Gray, her parents Katherine and Chet, her two brothers LeRoy and Les and one sister Beatrice. Also, her son-in-law Joseph Paul Sedgeman. Joyce was a loving wife, mom, grandma, great-grandma, great-great grandma, aunt and sister. She will be missed by so many, but she will live forever in our hearts. I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, bet your pretty neck I do...doodle do I do. Love you more!
A private viewing was held Jan. 12, 2021 at 1 p.m. Caldwell’s Chapel, followed by a graveside service at the Safford Cemetery at 2 p.m. Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.