Pattie Moore Gray

Pattie Moore Gray

Pattie Moore Gray

GUILDERLAND — Pattie Moore Gray, a Christian woman who helped in her husband’s ministry and who shared her love of nature with her children, died Thursday, June 7, 2018. She was 95.

Born on Nov. 7, 1922, in Washington, D.C., to Lee V. Moore and Pattie Tatum Moore, she was proud of her family’s North Carolina heritage. Her husband, Rev. Douglas W. Gray, died before her, on July 30, 2017.

Mrs. Gray described her childhood hometown of Washington, D.C., as a “sleepy southern town.” When she was young, her family attended the former First Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., next to the United States Capitol, where the Rayburn House Office Building now stands. She spent her childhood summers at the family cottage on the Severn River in Maryland, with her parents and brother, Sam, where she excelled on the local club’s swim team.

She attended George Washington University, graduating in 1944, with a major in sociology. Mrs. Gray then enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary, as a member of the first female class of Directors of Christian Education. At Princeton, she met her future husband Douglas Gray, a divinity student. They were married in 1946, when he flew back from his Navy Chaplaincy posting in Oakland, California.  After they were married, Mrs. Gray moved to Oakland and worked in a local mission.

Upon Mr. Gray’s discharge from the Navy, the couple moved to his first parish, the St. Regis Presbyterian Church in the Adirondack village of Paul Smith’s, New York, where Mrs. Gray said she spent the first winter with her southern feet in the oven to keep warm. The following years saw moves to five other parishes in New York State.

The Grays raised their family in Guilderland where Doug served as minister of the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church. Later, while serving in the parish of First United Presbyterian Church in Oneonta, Mrs. Gray chaired the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley Task Force on Women in the Church.

Summers alternated between their camp in the Adirondacks — where she helped her kids catch red efts, taught them to appreciate fireflies, and protected them from night time visits from bats — and her family's cottage in Maryland — where she taught her kids to catch blue crabs off the end of the pier, and to identify birds. A lifelong birder, Mrs. Gray had a remarkable recall of songbird calls.

When Mr. Gray retired in 1987, the couple purchased a 30-acre sugarbush in Schoharie and produced maple syrup for many years. Although boiling down the maple sap frequently kept them up until 2 a.m. when the sap was running in March, Mrs. Gray described the experience as a lot of fun. She took great pleasure in playing games with her grandchildren there, and tromping through the snow on snowshoes with them, exploring the woods.

Mrs. Gray had a deep interest in, and understanding of, the history of the Christian church, and had an uncanny ability to identify the denomination of a church building by its architecture. Throughout her adult life, she listened avidly to the daily news, and recently lamented the divisiveness that has grown in this country and around the world. Mrs. Gray survived colon cancer in 2007, and displayed a quiet, stoic tolerance of personal discomfort.  

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Pattie Moore Gray is survived by her children, Roger Gray and his wife, Monica, Portia Hubert and her husband, Gary, and Lee Gray and his wife, Beth, and her grandchildren, Matthew Hubert and Christine Hubert.

Her brother, Samuel Varick Moore, died before her.

A memorial service followed by a reception will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church at 2291 Western Avenue in Guilderland.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, 2291 Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY  12084, or to The Wild Center, 45 Museum Drive, Tupper Lake, NY 12986.

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