Betty Jo Gray July 30, 1922 – April 11, 2019
Betty Jo went to her Lord and Savior on April 11, 2019 at Samaritan Hospice House in Albany, Oregon with her family by her side. She was born in Plummer, Idaho on July 30, 1922 to Harold Floyd Bell and Emma Elizabeth Schmidt; she was the second of four siblings.
The family traveled around Idaho, California, and Oregon; finally settling in Union, Oregon sometime in the 1930’s. After graduating from Union High School in 1940, she attended St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Boise, Idaho. Graduating in 1945, she then took her pediatric training at Doernbecker Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, where she was during the Polio outbreak.
She married Harlan William McCrae in Union, Oregon in February 1945, where they lived and had two children until moving to Newport. In 1948, they bought a farm near Newport on Fruitvale Road and had two more children. They divorced in 1959. She later married James Gray.
In her long nursing career, she worked for Dr. Peter Long in Toledo, Oregon. At that time, he was the one and only OBGYN in the area. She then worked a Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport as Director of Nurses and Head Surgery Nurse. After leaving the hospital, she worked in Waldport, first for Dr. Hayter, then Dr. Mayo, and lastly for Dr. Spence. After retirement, she worked for senior services doing in-home care. Her last job was working at Sea Aire in Yachats and she finally gave up on her nursing career at age 84.
Betty Jo was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Waldport where she served as a deaconess and later attended First Baptist Church in Newport. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and in 1991, she was accorded honorary membership in the OSRT (Oregon Society of Radiologic Technologist). Betty Jo was a volunteer for the Children’s Advocacy Center in Newport, and drove her motor home filled with teenagers to Mexico for a mission trip.
She loved to garden, knit, and make quilts, as well as attending sports events with her daughter Sandi, and rarely missed a ball game her great grandchildren were participating in. Betty Jo was a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great-grandmother; and always a devoted friend to all she knew.
Betty Jo is survived by her children; Sandi Wiles (Vern) of Newport, OR; Judith McDonough (Gary) of Payette, ID; and Ron McCrae of Albany, OR. She has 9 grandchildren, 2 step granddaughters, 14 great grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren and 6 step great grandchildren; a sister, Geraldine Carlton of Warner Robins, GA; a brother Robert bell of Corpus Christi, TX; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Emma Bell; brother James Bell; son Richard McCrae; great granddaughter Sophia Vickrey; and husbands, Harlan McCrae and James Gray.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00AM on Saturday July 27th at the First Baptist Church located in Newport, OR, with a reception to follow at Yaquina Bay Yacht club in Newport. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice or the charity of your choice.