Dr. Everett Gray or "Reese", as his siblings lovingly called him, was born May 27, 1927, in Tohula, Mississippi, to the union of Oliver, and Hattie (Lee) Gray. His mother passed away when he was only 6 months old, leaving his Grandmother, Mary Gray, to raise him. At the age of 17, Everett decided that it was time to see the world. He left Mississippi, and moved to Chicago, Illinois and not many years later, met and married the love of his life, Marion London. To this union 6 children were born. During this time, Everett worked many odd jobs, one in particular, a restaurant in downtown Chicago, where he portrayed himself as a native of Jamaica, employed as the dishwasher. He held the job for 5 months, until his boss hired a true native of Jamaica. He decided to end his employment, before he was found out. Those who knew him, knew of his hilarious sense of humor! After saving his money, he became a business owner, with his very own Cleaners/Taylor Shop, on North St. in the Chicago Loop. It was during this time that God began to shift him in another direction, spoke to him, and placed a calling on his life to preach the Word. He began his studies at The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL. Everett acquired many titles. After his completion of Seminary College, he became ordained, and received his license. He organized and was Pastor of the Union Baptist Church, in Robbins, IL., all while raising children, but having a very devoted, and understanding help meet, Marion. He went on to be the Founder of St. Mary Baptist Church, on the northside, Chicago. Everett was a man truly favored by God, and moved even further in the Ministry, by receiving his Bachelor of Theology Degree, from the Indiana Christian University, Indianapolis, IN., July of 1969. That same year, he was called to be the Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, here in Gary. He served as Pastor for nearly 37 years. Everett continued to trust in God, and was blessed to receive his First Doctorate of Divinity Degree, from GMORE International Theological Institute of America. His second Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, from McKinley Theological Seminary Inc., June of 1980. On March 14, 1982, he lost his faithful, devoted wife of 34 yrs., Marion, to bone cancer. His heart ached, but God kept him strong. He later married Mis JoAnn Franklin Johnson. To this union, one son born, Lehman. (JoAnn, preceded Everett in death passing away in 2016). Everett wore many many hats. He was the Dean of the Northern Indiana Missionary Baptist Educational District Association. Not long after, he served as President of the same organization. He was President of the Baptist Minister's Conference of Gary, and Vicinity. Director of Foreign Missions of The Original General Missionary State Convention of Indiana Inc. He was the Mediator Counselor for the City Court of Gary, and Judge Deidre L. Monroe. Lastly, he was chosen, by the Heritage Registry of "Who's Who", and received The Proclamation of Excellence Award. Dr. Gray was one of many siblings! He had five brothers: Oliver, Cleaster, Jessie, Samuel, and RJ., all preceding him in death. Eight sisters, three who has preceded him in death: Carrie (Cicero) Jenkins, Hattie (Clarence) Brownlow, and Mary Strong. One daughter, Gladys Gray, his oldest girl, also preceded him in death. He leaves to Cherish His Loving Memory, Six children: James (Janet) Gray, of Crown Pt., IN, Carolyn (Ronnie) Taylor of Gary, IN; Augustine (Arnold) Larry, of Detroit, MI; August (Yvonne) Gray of Los Angeles, CA; Annette (Lamont) Baynes of Graham, NC; and Lehman Gray of Harvey, IL; 21 grandchildren, 45 great grandchildren, and 8 great great grandchildren, 5 sisters Olivia (John) Baker, Geneva (Cecil) Calvert both of Chicago, IL; Beatrice Hobbs, of Compton, CA; Rubertha Ford of Carson, CA; and Gertrude Gray of Torrance, CA; his family at the Gary Manor Apts., and a host of nephews, nieces, and many many friends. Visitation Wednesday, May 9, 2018 from 9 to 11:00am with funeral services to follow at 11:00am all services at the Jerusalem M.B. Church, 1741 Fillmore St. Rev. I. Culver Jr., Officiating. Interment at Evergreen Cemetery.
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Published in Post-Tribune on May 6, 2018.