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Frances Simmons Gray
Frances Simmons Gray passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, at home on
January 24, 2020.
Frances was born on March 2, 1930 to Rufus and Lucille Johnson Simmons. She was
preceded in death by her parents and brothers I.V., Malcom, Murray, Johnson, Robert, and
Thomas, and her husband, Don.
Frances graduated from North Georgia College and entered the Civil Service as secretary
to the Provost Marshal at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and later transferred to the Legal Section at Fort
Benning, Georgia. It was at Fort Benning that she met her husband, Major Donald E. Gray.
Frances and Don settled in Medford, Oregon and raised four children. For more than 50
years the Gray House was a special place where everyone felt at home: no need to knock, just a
holler of hello. Generations of people considered Frances a second mom, a cherished friend, and
she greeted all with a smile and an offer of a sandwich. Frances treasured her family and friends.
Frances worked several jobs over the years, but was probably best known for her time as
the bookkeeper at Farmers Market in Phoenix.
Frances is survived by her children, Shelley Gray of Seattle, Wendy and Darwin Stout of
Maple Valley, Washington, Donald Gray of Medford, and Vicki Gray and Bruce Mooneyham of
Medford. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Ryan and Lizz Rauch of Portland, Wendy and
Matthew Harmeston of Medford, Elliot and Kate Gray of Seattle, Stewart Gray of Bellingham,
Washington, Sam and Sydney Stout of Maple Valley, and 5 great-grandchildren. She is also
survived by nieces/nephews Pat Ray and Si Simmons of North Carolina, Sandra Yates, Adecia
Asbell, Lynn Simmons, Teresa Berry, Leitha Morris and Brooks Simmons of Georgia, Thomas
Simmons, and many cherished grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. on March 14 at the Perl-Siskiyou Memorial
Chapel. Private interment of ashes will be at Eagle Point National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:
Food & Friends of Jackson County Food & Friends / Meals on Wheels
Asante Hospice Hospice Care—Compassionate End-of-Life Care
American Cancer Society
Any charity in your area that serves seniors and their families
Practically being born on Jasper street and under the watchful eye of several different parents was the best childhood anyone of my age could wish for. One of those parents was Mrs Frances Gray. It helped that her own children were near the ages of my brothers and I , in fact, I grew up as big Vicki where Vicki Gray was little Vicki.
My brothers and I were taught to address people who were our elders by their last name and Mr or Mrs. but with with Frances, she just wanted to be known asFrances.
She and my brother James used to have a unique relationship. He was quite a speed demon and she would get so upset with him when he would ride his bicycle up and down the street really really fast. I know that she loved him and he loved her. I believe they are together right now and he is probably popping wheelies in front of her making her crazy.
There are so many things I can say about Frances but the biggest thing is that it seems like no matter who you were or what you were or where you were in your life she just always accepted you and loved you.
Another of the Jasper street pillars is gone.
Vicki Burton Mar 15 2020 12:00 AM
Fran was a day brightener and made you feel welcome and special. She had such a great sense of humor. Always a fun time hanging with Fran.
In college she kept us well stocked in farmers market finds. We never quite knew what she was going to send along, but it was always good. The first time I tried jicama, was from Fran. I am also pretty sure she got us started putting nutritional yeast on our popcorn. Loved her!
Lisa M Mar 2 2020 12:00 AM
Yes. She did feel like a second mom. She had that aura about her that made you feel like you had known her forever even if you were just meeting her for the first time. She always had a smile and a laugh waiting that I definitely will always remember. She always wanted to know what was going on in your life rather than discussing her own. She was as genuine as its gets with true care and concern for others.
Pete Feb 23 2020 12:00 AM
My friend and I deliver food for Food and Friends every Wednesday. The highlight of our day was the visit to Frances. Always a hug and compliments about my clothes. The last time I saw her she said "you look lovely. You should always wear yellow." She was a gracious, charming woman. I wish I could have known her in her prime. I know she must have been one special lady!
Jan Shipley and Shannon McIntrye Jan 31 2020 12:00 AM