Linda R. Gray
July 9, 1945 – January 2, 2020
Linda Rhea Gray, née Braden — wife, mother, grandmother, friend — passed peacefully in her sleep after a long illness early on January 2, 2020. She was here for 74 years, five months, and 25 days, each one of them a blessing to those whose lives she touched.
She was born July 9, 1945, in Evansville, Ind., to Louis Edward and Elizabeth Braden, the first of three children. She was a member of the first graduating class of William Henry Harrison High School in 1963 where she served as newspaper editor.
She married William Richard Gray on January 20, 1968, in Evansville. They spent the early years of their marriage in England, where Bill was stationed with the U.S. Air Force as a photographer. While there, she served as a Girl Scout troop leader for the children of the Air Force personnel. They returned to the United States in late 1969, first to Evansville and then near Springfield, Illinois. While in Illinois, Linda and Bill served on an ambulance crew, and she became a certified paramedic with the state. They eventually moved to Mishawaka, where they raised their three boys; Matthew (Tracy), Edward Alan (Starla), and Jonathan (Julie).
She loved her family more than anything. She was blessed with eight grandchildren; Amanda (Ben) Perry, Mishawaka; Austin Parker, Addison, Allie, and Alaina Gray, Celina, Ohio; and Emma and Nicholas Gray, Granger.
Linda was deeply involved in her community. She was a longtime member of Tri Kappa, involved in her local chapter and the state organization since June 1990. During her time with Tri Kappa, she began volunteering at the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum in Mishawaka, eventually becoming the secretary of the museum’s board.
She loved to cross-stitch, and each of her grandchildren was blessed with a handmade stocking for Christmas. She loved travelling, and peacefully watching the Ohio River traffic from a hotel balcony in Owensboro, Ky., was one of her favorite ways to relax. One of her greatest passions was genealogy, and she grew a family tree with more than 6,000 connections. As she always said: she knew where the bones were buried.
If you knew Linda, you were aware of many things, but chief among them her ability to cook and host. If you were lucky, you received a carefully curated box of her family recipe cards. We now treasure those cards and look forward to her words teaching us how to cook those favorite recipes for years to come. Her handcrafted dining room table was big enough to hold her large family and friends for holidays, and we gathered around it in the hours just after her death for a family breakfast — knowing that’s exactly where she’d want us to be.
Visitation with family will be held Tuesday, January 7, at Bubb Funeral Home in Mishawaka from 5 to 8 p.m., with a short eulogy service at 7 p.m. The address is 3910 N. Main Street, Mishawaka, IN, 46545. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, directed to the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum Endowment Fund, at P.O. Box 837, South Bend, IN, 46624, or online through cfsjc.org.