Lenna Raye Craven Gray, 86, passed away on December 6, 2019 after a valiant battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Unmitigated love and devotion from her family and her firm belief in God supported her throughout her struggle and ultimately gave her peace.
The family will host a Gathering of Remembrance 3:00-5:00 pm Saturday, December 14, 2019 at Badger Funeral Home, 300 East Main Street, West Jefferson, NC.
Lenna was born to the late Gene and Grace Craven, in the Wagoner Community of Ashe County on November 19, 1933. She was the second oldest of Gene and Grace’s six children who ultimately made their family home in Glendale Springs. Her parents instilled in Lenna strong principles of seeking God first, always speak with integrity, invest in that which lasts and always help those who can’t help themselves. These principles would prove to be the foundation of Lenna’s entire life and her internal compass as she experienced life living in North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Louisiana.
As untraditional as her life may have seemed at times, she always valued her self-reliance and independence to get up and go whenever she pleased, but never at the cost of her family or friends. From endless trips “down the mountain” to years of shopping yard sales and thrift stores, Lenna seemingly never stopped moving, and was always ready to go; especially the beach. She knew the true value of being independent; she wore it with honor and an unmistakable style. She never just accepted her place in this world, but worked tirelessly every day to earn it.
Working hard and helping others came naturally to Lenna; no matter the distance away from home nor the extent of time needed. In serving as a blessing to others, God blessed her with a career working for two community action agencies that would help to establish anti-poverty and elderly care programs that are still improving the quality of life for people in Ashe, Alleghany and Caldwell counties today.
After retirement, Lenna worked part-time for the Ashe County ARTS Council until dementia forced her to end her working years in the same WPA rock building in West Jefferson in which she started working for Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission in 1972.
In addition to her parents, Lenna was also preceded in death by a sister, Lorinda “Cindy” Butchee; two brothers, Billy Joe Craven and Jerry Lee Craven.
Lenna is survived by two sons, Mike Gray and wife, Kim of Jefferson; Jennings Gray and wife, Suzanne of Raleigh; a sister Pearl Jean Miller of Glendale Springs; a brother Tommy Craven and wife, Shirley of Glendale Springs; three grandchildren, Miranda Gray Cable, and husband, Wayne of Fleetwood, Evan Gray of Pittsburgh, PA and Landon Gray of Raleigh; two great granddaughters, Marley and Ellie Cable of Fleetwood; several dearly loved nieces and nephews also survive with distinctive memories of time spent with their “Aunt Raye” or “Mo” as she was often called.
The family respectfully declines flowers. Donations in honor of Lenna would be gratefully received by any of the following organizations:
Ashe Services for Aging Foundation, 180 Chattyrob Lane, West Jefferson, NC 28694
Camp New Hope, PO Box 154, Glendale Springs, NC 28629
Roans Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Tommy Craven, PO Box 59, Glendale Springs, NC 28629
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