Lucille H. Gray

Category: Obituaries
Created on Monday, 03 July 2017 13:53
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Lucille Gray

Services for Lucille Gray will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, at the First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Rob Mathis presiding.

A graveside service will follow, at 3 p.m. at Sitka National Cemetery. A dinner reception will be at 4:30 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall, in the Raven Room.

Lucille died April 30 at a nursing home in Spokane, Wash. She was 89.

Lucille H. Watson was born April 14, 1928, in Goodland, Minn., the daughter of Ruth M. Darrow and William H. Watson.  

She was raised on a farm and attended school in Grand Rapids, Minn.,  until the 10th grade when she focused on working on the farm.

At age 19 she moved to Minneapolis where she earned her certification as a licensed practical nurse and worked at a tuberculosis sanitorium until her father passed away, and she returned home to help her mother.

At 26, Lucille accepted an offer from the Federal Government to pay her way to Sitka, Alaska, a small fishing town with only 1,800 residents, and work at the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The hospital was established to serve Natives throughout Alaska who had been affected with tuberculosis. She earned her meals, rent, and $50 a month, which allowed her to send money home to her mother. 

After a year of working at the hospital, Lucille met Alfred Gray and a year later they were married, August 27, 1955. The following year, on June 8, 1956, she gave birth to twin boys Alfred and Alan, and a year later, on May 26, 1957, she gave birth to a set of twin girls, Charlene and Cheryl.

Following the girls’ birth Lucille returned to nursing, working at the Sitka Pioneers Home.

On May 8, 1966, she gave birth to a boy, Douglas.

She continued to work until she retired in 1987 with 22 years of service. 

Lucille was a huge supporter of her children’s and grandchildren’s activities, attending and cheering them on in wrestling, baseball, soccer, swimming and cheerleading.

She enjoyed family time, playing games, hiking, berry picking, bowling, and making jams and syrups.

She loved making desserts, baking pies from freshly picked berries and rhubarb, making cinnamon rolls and breads.

A proud grandma, she traveled to see all her grandchildren’s graduation and wedding events. She enjoyed telling jokes and singing and making people smile. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Gray; her parents William H. and Ruth M. (Darrow) Watson; sister Rhoda Pavolla; brothers and sisters-in-law Clayton and Norma Watson and Charlie and Gladys Watson; sister  and brother-in-law Ruth and Albert Benson; and grandson Freddy Bruner. 

Lucille is survived by her sister Ruby Madsen of Minnesota; sons and daughters-in-law Alfred and Karen Gray of Sonora, Calif., Alan and Donna Gray of Spokane, Wash., and Douglas and Michelle Gray of Juneau; daughters and sons-in-laws Charlene and Rock Peterson, Sitka, and Cheryl and Rich Clark of Ione, Wash.

Also surviving are 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; nieces Virginia Schultz, Gloria Johnson, Janet Sobtzak, Judith Watson Jahn, Suzanne Watson Steimpel, Maryls Osborn and Jane Benson; nephews Harold Madsen, Erling and wife Yvonne Madsen, Kalvin Madsen and Leroy Watson and Richard Watson; and numerous cousins.