Mary Jean Gray, 92
June 07, 2021
Mary Jean Jakubowski “Jake” Gray is a farm girl at heart. Born on July 13, 1928 in Dorr, Michigan, the first 10 years of her life were spent exploring the endless wonders of childhood on the family farm: Long, green meadows punctuated by mid western flowers; the rhythm of farm life and the shenanigans of farm animals; and adventures with her sisters Dorothy and Betty. Born to Charles Jakubowski and Pearl Blain Jakubowski, her younger siblings were Chuck and Sally.
Mary’s peaceful childhood was interrupted when she was 10 years old, during the Great Depression. She found herself having to tend to herself at this young age. Despite not having material wealth, those early years living, exploring and playing close to the earth gave Mary a strong constitution and natural ability to create her own loving family. After a career in millinery and modeling, beautiful Mary adventured to the west coast to experience a different lifestyle. She returned home to resume her work and soon met her husband to be, Charles F Gray (“Chuck”).
Mary met Chuck at her own party in Chicago, where she flirted him away from the date he arrived with. It was not long before they married. Mary would often marvel at how her dashing, debonair and risk-taking fiancé quickly transformed into a serious, steadfast and deeply devoted husband and father. Mary and Chuck’s strong bond and commitment to raise their children, Elizabeth L. Gray (“Amber”) and Charles F. Gray, to be morally strong, independent thinkers and decent and kind human beings, is a testimony to their love. Both Mary and Chuck were raised in homes that were economically very poor and both endured loss and trauma in their childhood years. Despite their less than easy childhoods, Mary and her husband Chuck were quintessential parents: Loving, supportive, devoted and present. Elizabeth and Chuck always, always, knew they were loved and wanted.
Mary had many skills. She was a brilliant bookkeeper, a talented and successful real estate agent, an animal and plant whisperer and an amazing cook. She devoted much of her time after her children left home to volunteer programs such as The Bridgewater Connecticut Women’s Fire Auxiliary; The Land Trust, and The Episcopal Church. More recently and more progressively, Mary became an advocate for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania and fostering a more supportive and inclusive community for LGBTQIA+ at Willow Valley. She was self-trained in many of her accomplishments. Mary’s fierce constitution and wonderful sense of humor offered a loyal friendship to those who took the time to know her well. Amongst Mary’s greatest delights are daffodils, visiting with the birds who land on her windowsill, sitting on the beach and watching the ocean, reading a good book, a good game of golf, and being with her family.
Mary is preceded in death by her parents and siblings Dorothy, Betty and Chuck. Sister Sally, her husband Chuck Gray, her grateful children Elizabeth Lynn
(“Amber”) and Charles Franklin Gray, two Grandchildren, Ciara Lynn and Charles Gray, and four Grand dogs, Blakey, Tiki, Bodhi and Max, survive her. Her daughter’s husband, Karl Ferguson, and her siblings’ children, grandchildren and great children also survive her.
In her own words, near the time of her death, Mary Jean Jakubowski Gray “is blessed”, and her life of 92 years, lived with courage, fortitude, perseverance and grace, is a benediction for those of us whose lives are a gift of her own. Mary Jean Jakubowski Gray graced this world with fierce love, and those of us blessed to call her Mother, Aunt, Sister or Grandmother mourn the loss of her physical presence, and celebrate this love, enduring forever in our hearts.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made https://www.pspca.org/lancaster or https://wsm.org/.
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Condolences to the Family
June 25, 2021
To Amber and your family, Thank you for this beautiful written memorial of your mother Mary; it was an honor to read the story of your family. Yes Mary’s children did indeed bring the love they received into the world. Amber we are grateful for your gifts and now better understand the great love and inspriation received from your parents.
My condolences and those of our Dance Therapy community in Montreal.
June 23, 2021
Mary and I were friends since we were teenagers. We shared so many happy memories and survived a few tearful experiences. Our friendship traveled from Grand Rapids to Chicago, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and many fun winters golfing in Florida. Mary was 3 months older than I which gave me an opportunity to send funny birthday cards pointing out my youth. I will miss sharing memories and cherish my forever friend. ❤️🥰🙏
June 23, 2021
To the Gray Family & our cherished friend Chuck jr.;
My sincere condolences and prayers help get you through this time of sorrow & grief.
I am sure Mary Jean Gray is touching the hearts of all the angels in heaven. She will surely be missed bay by all.
Love Carolyn Kiak & Clancy Kittrrdge
June 22, 2021
Dear Amber, please accept my condolences. Your mama was an amazing lady. I hope that great memories that you all had will help you all during the time of sadness. I am truly sorry for your loss.