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 on 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 for 60 years. While living in Morenci, Paul worked for the Phelps Dodge Copper Mine. After he retired, they moved to York Valley. After 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; 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-grandchildren, 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 will be conducted on Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. at 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.