Howard Lee Gray Jr.

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Howard Lee Gray, Jr. CHAPIN, SC - Howard Lee Gray, Jr. was born April 6, 1920 to Howard Lee and Allie Marie Gray of Williamson, West Virginia. Howard, fondly known as "Pop" or "Poppa" to all who knew him, understood the value of the things that really mattered in life having grown up in the Great Depression. He fondly shared memories of his childhood of which there were many with those around him from the frequent summers he spent on his grandparents' farm to the long train rides as a teenager to watch the Cincinnati Reds play ball on the weekends. His dad's only stipulation was that he be back in time for school on Monday morning, which meant riding the train all night. One of his fondest memories was treating his dad to his first major league baseball game after he got out of school. He served his country with distinction and honor in the U.S. Navy's Pacific Theatre during World War II. "Pop" married the love of his life, Betty Jo Webb, and celebrated a 65-year love affair with whom he has now rejoined. He was a successful business leader in Columbia, SC, retiring as Division Manager of McKesson and Robbins. Upon retirement, he and Betty moved to Lakeland, FL, where he was active in the building of his church and served on the boards of Noah's Ark and the local homeless shelter, as he was always committed to giving back. During these years, he helped so many understand that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. After retirement, "Pop" spent his years in Chapin, SC, where he felt so blessed to have been an active and the oldest member of Chapin United Methodist Church. He viewed his church friends as part of his extended family. In his 90s, he was still hosting Gamecock parties in his home and organizing outings for friends at the community theatre. His greatest joy in life was being among his family and friends, whom he cherished so deeply. The hundreds of extended family members who called him "Pop" were touched deeply by his innate goodness. He left everything and everyone he knew better than he found them. It is fitting that the last full day of his life on this Earth was Thanksgiving, which began by his cooking the traditional pancake breakfast for his family, a true servant to the end. During Thanksgiving dinner, he alertly regaled his loved ones with recollections of his life, which they never tired of hearing. He is predeceased by his loving wife, Betty Jo Webb, and his sister Katharine Gray Waller of Williamson, West Virginia. He is survived by a brother Charles Gray of Wisconsin, His first cousin Ada Katharine McMullen, and his children, Toni Gray Hollingsworth (husband, James Wesley Hollingsworth) of Chapin; Tomi Gray Youngblood (husband of M. William Youngblood) of Charleston, SC; and Patricia Ann Robins (husband, Howard C. Robins) of Williamsburg, VA. Grandchildren: Clint Robins of Charlotte, NC; Lisa Gray Youngblood (husband, Johnny Krawcheck) of Atlanta, GA; Staci Robins Leach (husband, Zan Leach) of New Symrna Beach, FL; Lauren Lee Youngblood of Charleston, SC; and James Wesley Hollingsworth, Jr. of Johns Island, SC. Great Grandchildren: Sarah Louise Krawcheck and Eleanor Gray Krawcheck of Atlanta, GA; Caden Ellis and Lochlan Robins of Charlotte, NC; and Mia Leach of New Symrna Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Chapin United Methodist Church, 415 Old Lexington Hwy, Chapin, SC 29036 for all of the joy his church family brought him. The family will receive visitors on Sunday, November 25 from 5-7 PM at the home of Toni and Jim Hollingsworth, 1 Mills Lake Ct., Chapin, SC. A service in celebration of Pop's life will be held at 4 PM Monday, November 26, 2012 at Chapin United Methodist Church. Visit our guestbook at charleston

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Temples-Halloran Funeral & Cremation Services
5400 Bush River Rd
Columbia, SC 29212
(803) 772-1231
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Published in Charleston Post & Courier on Nov. 25, 2012
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