BETTY JEAN “B.J.” BROWN GRAY
B.J. Gray died peacefully at Plantation Estates on May 6, 2018. Born on October 24, 1926 in Charlotte, N.C., she was the “baby” of eight children born to the late Norman William Brown and Fannie Haynes Brown. B.J. is survived by her son William Emery “Bo” Gray II, and his wife Rachael Gray, daughter Robin Mullis and her husband Randy Mullis, daughter Alison Gray, son-in-law Craig Morgan, granddaughters, Anna Mullis, Caroline Mullis-Fischer, Sarah “Bella” Appel and Kali Gray, and grandsons, Justin Morgan, Jonathan Morgan, Jesse Meyer-Appel, Chance Gray and Jackson Gray. She was preceded in death by Jack Gray, her loving husband of 52 years, her daughter Karen Morgan, her grandson, William Emery “Tripp” Gray III, her sisters, Verna Jackson, Mary McClure, Mildred Lechner and Charlotte Stalvey, and her brothers, Leon, Gregory, and Paul Brown. B.J. attended Harding High School (Class of 1945) where she was a National Honor Society member and developed many dear and enduring friendships. In her first post-graduation resumé, B.J. noted that she was an American and a Methodist, had a short-hand speed of 80 words a minute, and at 5’2” tall and weighing 98 lbs., had “no defects of any kind.” She parlayed these skills and top physical conditioning into a job with Travelers Insurance Co. where she earned a salary of $24 per week. At least part of that was unquestionably spent on new shoes at Belk’s. On August 11, 1951, B.J. and Jack married and 10 months later flew to Paris for a year-long architectural project to rebuild a hospital destroyed during WWII. In a letter to her sister Mildred, B.J. noted that at almost every place you could get a 20 cent Coca-Cola, which was expensive “but worth it.” They returned to Charlotte in 1953 - an auspicious year with the birth of their first child, Karen, and B.J.’s obtainment of her first driver’s license. William, Robin and Alison subsequently followed on an every-two-year schedule in 1955, 1957 and 1959. In 1957, the Grays moved from Lola Avenue to Melchor Avenue in Charlotte’s new Cotswold neighborhood in a house designed by Jack (but a home designed by B.J.) where they raised all four children, pampered their cats, and lived for more than 40 years. In 1977, after being a full-time “mom” for 24 years, B.J. hired on at Duke Power, where she worked in the employee benefits department until her retirement in 1992. For years thereafter, she loved traveling with the Duke Power Retiree Club. She spent the last years of her life surrounded by old and new friends at Plantation Estates. B.J.’s parents were charter members of First United Methodist Church in downtown Charlotte which was her spiritual home from infancy up to her death at 91. Among many other things, she was an active member of the Adult Fellowship Sunday School Class, the United Methodist Women, Thursdays-at-First, and regularly volunteered in the Children’s Nursery. She loved her First Church friends and they loved her. She and Jack championed an inclusive and open church for all. At her request, there will be no memorial service. B.J. was about small acts of kindness and compassion. In that spirit, if desired, you can honor her memory through volunteerism, a mindful moment of gratitude, shared laughter with friends, or the posting of a memory to www. carolinafuneral.com. B.J. requested that any donations in her memory be made to the Children’s Ministry at First United Methodist Church, 501 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, N.C. 28202. Carolina Funeral Service & Cremation is entrusted with the arrangements.