Date of Death: September 23, 2022
A memorial will be scheduled at a later date. Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers.
Claire J. Gray (nee VanDyke), 101, died at Bowman Place in Three Rivers on Friday, September 23, 2022.
Claire grew up in Kalamazoo and with her husband, Paul, raised three sons in Portage before they moved to Big Pleasant Lake in Three Rivers.
She enjoyed entertaining family and friends and setting a pretty table. Claire also liked to golf, play bridge, decorate for the holidays, and loved life on the lake. She kept an extensive journal for each of her sons until age 18 and also kept a journal about her VanDyke ancestors. For a time, Claire worked in the office at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers.
Claire was preceded in death by Paul Gray (husband), Bill Gray (son), Jack Gray (son), siblings and their spouses who are William VanDyke, Marty Shelven, Ellie (Bob) Peckham, and Dick (Phyllis) VanDyke, and also her great granddaughter, Bailey Kovalan. Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law as well as nieces, great nieces, nephews, and great nephews also preceded her in death.
Survivors include Steve Gray (son), Suzy Gray (daughter-in-law, widow of Bill), grandchildren Jen (Patrick) Kovalan, James (Kerry) Gray, Todd (Lydia) Gray and Sarah (Charlie) Firnsin. Claire leaves behind eight great grandchildren along with great nieces and nephews as well as former daughters-in-law Pat (Len) Cooke and Nancy (Harry) Elkan. Surviving nieces are Barb Himebaugh, Betsie (Charlie) Scott, and nephew Rick (Mary) VanDyke. Near the end of her life, Claire’s great niece, Alice Witt, and friend, Linda Petit, visited frequently to see to her well-being.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Alzheimer’s Association or the local humane society of your choice.
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Dear Steve and Family,
Your mother sounds so amazing. She was beautiful. I am truly sorry for your loss.
You have my deepest sympathies,
Judy Todd Wood
Oh behalf of the family, thank you for your kind comments.
Claire was a loving, caring and little “sassy” lady.
I will always have a special spot in my heart with wonderful memories of Claire.
Know she had her faith, her family and her special friend Linda P. that she treasured.
Know she was loved by all who knew her at the Assisted Living. There was other residents that would even reach out to help her when she was in need to find her room, help her win at bingo or just give her a smile to brighten her day.
On behalf of the family, thank you for your nice note. She has such very good care and attention from the devoted staff at Bowman Place. Accept our gratitude for your taking care of Claire in her last years of life.