Janis Joanne Haskell Gray passed away peacefully in the comfort of her home with her beloved husband. In her final years she was loved, adored and assisted by the love of her life, Duane, to whom she was married for over 59 years. Janis was born in El Centro, California, to Paul and Thelma Haskell. She met Duane in January 1959 while he was stationed in the Navy in El Centro and they married in 1961. They moved to Pomona, CA for 5 years before returning to El Centro where they lived until they moved to Durango, Colorado in 2000. Janis worked many years for the El Centro Elementary School District until she retired in 1998. She loved kids and if you had a reason to visit the office, you could always expect a hug from her. Janis (and Duane) opened their home to numerous foster children over the years and she loved each child just like they were her own children. She was also a devoted member of Central Baptist Church in El Centro at the corner of Ross and Imperial. She was instrumental in helping to raise funds to build the gymnasium. She loved working with the youth and even after her two children moved away to college, she (and Duane) still had the church youth over for Bible study and volleyball games. Her family was very involved in The De Anza Rescue Unit in the Imperial Valley and quite often she used her Ham Radio license to communicate with the Searchers. When they lived in Pomona, Janis met Ray Bates who later introduced her to Class 10-1200 race cars. She was the co-driver and the family spent several years as pit crew to Bates Engineering moving from one off-road race to another. When Janis wasn't taking care of her family, working, volunteering, or riding in a race car, you could find her making jewelry with her sister Paula, sewing Halloween costumes, belly dancing, and after moving to Durango, riding quads. Janis loved unconditionally and was loved in kind. If you met her, you would remember her smile and the kindness she showed in everything she did. She made being a mother and wife seem easy and her presence will be missed greatly. She is not a memory to be forgotten but a memory to be shared. Janis was preceded in death by her Father, Paul "Mutt" Haskell, her Mother, Thelma House Haskell; her beloved sister, Paula Haskell Townsel; her brother-in-law, James Townsel; her nephew, Wesley Paul Townsel and his two children Cody and Tanner Townsel, as well as several aunts and uncles. Janis is survived by her husband, Duane Gray; her children, Cheri Price (Daniel) and Cindy Tengler (Eric); her grandchildren, Adam Price and Cady Price; her niece, Lori Cooper and family; her sister-in-law, Glenda Wells and family; her aunts, Margaret Dickson and Marlene House; and too many cousins to count. A private service will be held in Durango, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to your local hospice organization in the name of Janis Gray.
Published in Imperial Valley Press Online on Sep. 19, 2020.