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Originally published: 2013-07-12 09:44:59
Last modified: 2013-07-12 09:45:44

Jean Kilgour Gray

Jean Mary Kilgour Gray, 88 of Port Charlotte, Fla., and Earleville, Md., left this life on June 19, 2013, at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., while living with her daughter.

Jean was born July 16, 1924, in Beckenham, Kent, England, to Albert and Gwen Kilgour. Her early life was in Grove Park, in the suburbs of London.

She was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, and will be forever remembered for her English accent.

She was a Motor Transport Driver in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force during World War II stationed at Boscombe Downs. There she met an American soldier, Irvin Gray, who would become her husband, and change her life forever. In 1946, she came to the United States as Mrs. Jean Gray.

Jean retired from the American Can Company in Baltimore, Md., after 25-plus years of service. She also worked six years for the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Jean and her father, Albert Kilgour, were both instrumental in the formation of Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association, which chartered flights between the United Kingdom and the United States providing an opportunity for war brides and their parents to maintain family connections. Mr. Kilgour arranged the first charter flight to the United States in 1950 and was elected Transport Organizer, a position he held for twenty years. When the U.S. and Canada Division was formed, Jean was elected the first U.S. National Chairman and Transport Organizer and was, subsequently, awarded a plaque in appreciation of holding this office from 1963 to 1980. Jean later served as National President on the National Executive Committee. She was awarded Life Membership in the Association in 1970.

After retiring, she spent the winter months in the warm weather of Florida - first enjoying the snorkeling, fishing, and close friendships on Big Pine Key, and later in Port Charlotte, Fla., where she enjoyed playing dominoes, BINGO, Bunco and was an active member of the Red Hatters. She and her husband spent the summer months at their home on Powder Horn Mountain, near Boone, and the last fifteen years lived with her daughter and son-in-law, first in Pennsylvania, and most recently in Earleville, Md. She was known through the family for her delicious crab soup.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Irvin Gray, and grandson, Michael Dulaney.

Those left to cherish her memory are sons, Antony "Tony" Gray (Brenda) of Boone; John Gray (Marsha) of Hayes, Va.; daughter, Wendy Dulaney (Wayne) of Earleville; sister, Wendy Maters (Ron) of Cockeysville, Md.; nine grandchildren; nineteen great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and her best friend of 40-plus years, Dorothy Powell from Michigan.

A celebration of the life of Jean Mary Gray will be held at a later date for the family.

Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Boone, 131 Big Valley Street, Boone, NC 28607, or to a charity of choice.