Mary Ellen Phillips Gray, 90 years young, passed peacefully in her sleep on Oct. 15, 2017 at the James River Convalescent Center in Newport News. 

Mary was born on April 1, 1927 to the union of the late Ed and Clara Banks Phillips in Suffolk.  Mary received her formal education in the Suffolk, Virginia Public School System. She worked at the Planters factory in Suffolk, Virginia for over 46 years. After retirement from Planters, she was employed by Isle Wight County schools as the special needs school bus monitor and a cafeteria aide. 

Mary was a lifelong member of St. Paul Baptist Church in Suffolk. She was active in several church groups including the senior choir and usher board. Mary was also a member of the Suffolk Elks Lodge, Sigma Gamma Rho Philos of Suffolk and was the former president of Local Union No 2426 U.A.W. in Suffolk. 

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Clara Phillips; her beloved husband, Charles Henry Gray Sr.; and eight brothers, John Lee, Henry, Isam and Fletcher Williams and Crumpler, Frank, Edward and Clinton Phillips. Survivors include her daughter, Evelyn Edwards Anderson; four stepchildren Loris Ann Jones, Laverne G. Davis, Tammy Gray and Charles Henry Gray Jr.; grandchildren, Troy Anderson, Terry (Sharon) Anderson, Janine Betts, Charles Henry Gray III, Yolanda Gray-White, Raven Gray and Carla Heard; great-grandchildren, Alexandra and Andrew Anderson; Ernest Roberts, her “special son”; Hope Ellison, her “special granddaughter,” and a host of other relatives and friends.

Special thanks to mom’s caregivers, Teresa Davis and Marsha Dudley; they loved her dearly.

A funeral service will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at St. Paul Baptist Church, 806 Lincoln Ave., Suffolk. Burial will follow at Carver Memorial Gardens in Suffolk. Arrangements are under the care of Poole’s Funeral Home, Smithfield.  
Contributions can be made in Mary’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society. Flowers are also welcome.

 

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