Ceola Irene Gray

Ceola Gray, born Ceola Irene Bauerle, died peacefully Tuesday, November 18 at her home at Brandon Woods in Lawrence. Her oldest son Scott was in attendance, and she had been receiving loving and attentive care from the staff there and from Grace Hospice.

Ceola was born near Powhattan, Ks in 1923, the daughter of Karl and Frieda Bauerle. She was preceded in death by them, step-mother Mabel, her brother Carl, Jr., and by her husband of 63 years, Vincent A. Gray.

Ceola graduated from Hamlin High School in Brown County, Ks, and had to overcome the resistance of an old-world attitude that “girls don’t need to go to school beyond the 8th grade,” and this exemplified her quiet manner of always wanting to improve herself and her surroundings. Soon after graduation, she worked as a bank teller in Hiawatha, Ks. and this is where she met Vince. Their paths joined in 1946, and they raised their family of 3 sons in Hiawatha. Ceola soon took on the task of being a Cub Scout Den Mother, where she showed her creativity by adapting songs for the Scouts to sing, and by treating her Den to a ride on one of the last train passenger routes in that area. Ceola was later an integral part of running Gray Jewelers, and she later managed a Hallmark Gift Shop. During those times, she and Vince were able to do some extensive and well-deserved trips to the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. One of the documented highlights of that travel was Ceola holding a young koala bear, and it was difficult to tell which of them was the more content. After retiring and selling the businesses, Ceola and Vince continued on new adventures, including trips through Mexico, and a much later visit to Rome. They also lived in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas for a few years, where they enjoyed the gentle climate and occasional trips into Mexico for the cultural, culinary and tequilinary diversity. They eventually relocated to Lawrence, where they have lived for the past 20 years. They found a comfortable and welcoming home at Brandon Woods.

Throughout retirement, Ceola was able to explore her true passion for quilting. This gave her the opportunity to express her love of color and design, the satisfaction of fine craftsmanship, and the many warm friendships that came with sharing her interest in quilting. This led to her avid participation and eventual presidency of the Kaw Valley Quilter’s Guild, where she continued to craft some remarkable quilts and friendships. The legacy of her fine creations will continue to be cherished by the family.

Surviving family members include sons Scott (Lori), Charles (Iras), and Lynn (Patricia); grandchildren Carrie, Sarah, Lindsey, Joni, Hannah, Harvest, Bryce, and Corey; and great-grandchildren Eamon, Bess, Holden, and Maeve. Ceola will also be missed by special friends Larry and Sarah Biles, and innumerable caring members of the Brandon Woods family.

A family remembrance of Ceola and Vince is being planned in the spring of 2015, with the eventual interment of cremains at Mount Hope Cemetery in Hiawatha.

3 Condolences

  1. Susie Dillon on November 25, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. robyn herzog on November 25, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Soo sorry to. Here bout mrs gray she was a. Sweet lady
    Robyn herzog

  3. Twyla & Marty Dubois on December 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    We will always remember Ceola and smile. What a gentle, caring, and lovely woman. Her quilts, tooth fairy pillows, banners at the church and sweet quilted tiny gifts will continue to remind many of her sewing talents.
    The friendships of Ceola and Vince made Mother’s move to Brandon Woods a smooth transition. The shared meals, jokes and KSU/KU rivalry kept them embracing each day.
    Our sympathy to each of you, we realize how much of a change this loss makes in each of your lives.
    We consider ourselves blessed to have known and shared time with “Mr & Mrs Gray”.

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