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Mary Gray Lee

Dec 12, 2007

FALLBROOK, Calif.–Mary Gray Lee, formerly of Estherville, passed away at the age of 96 on Dec. 4, 2007. She was born on March 12, 1911 to Eula and Joe Hurley in Warren, Ark. After graduating from Warren High School and Christian College, she taught school in the Warren area.

On June 24, 1937, she married Paul G. Gray, Jr. and the couple made their home in Estherville where Mr. Gray was in business with his father at the P.G. Gray Produce Company. Mary and Paul had three children, Mary Alice, Betsy and Paul. She was active in the work of the Holy Family Hospital Auxiliary. In addition she served as a Girl Scout leader, a Cub Scout leader and was active in P.T.A. She also enjoyed her deep friendships in the AY chapter of P.E.O. as well as her bridge club and couples supper club.

Mary’s faith in the Lord was the foundation of her life. She spent her early years at the First Presbyterian Church in Warren, and, as a young woman, returned there to assist with various youth activities. While in Estherville, she was active in the First Presbyterian Church as a circle member and an elder.

Following the death of her husband Paul on Dec. 8, 1957, Mary worked part-time at the produce company. She also served on the board of Iowa Trust and Savings Bank in Estherville.

During the summer months, Mary spent many happy days at the cottage, Gray Gables, on Lake Okoboji entertaining her family and friends. On July 28, 1973, she married one of those long-time friends, Robert Nelson Lee, in the living room at Gray Gables with their children and grandchildren in attendance. After Bob retired as editor of the Estherville Daily News and public affairs director of Iowa Lakes Community College, they spent their summers at Lake Okoboji and their winters in Fallbrook, Calif. Bob died on Dec. 23, 1987.

Early in 2004, Mary moved to Silvergate in Fallbrook where she remained active until she suffered a broken hip in September of this year. Mary lived a full life and lived life to the fullest. She faced many challenges in her lifetime and met each of them with a calm determination. Mary will be remembered for her gracious hospitality, her kindness to others, her love for her family and for her incredible caramel rolls and chocolate chip cookies.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, her parents, five brothers, Laurence, Curtis, Joe Boyd, Wallace and James and her sister, Patricia Hurley Roddey.

She is survived by her three children, Mary Alice and husband Tom Dunscombe and their children, Amy and husband Stephen Burgher and their children, Mary Beth, Stephen and Thomas Burgher; and Molly and husband Patrick O’Leary and their children, Parker and Davis; Betsy and husband David Bucher and their son, Stephen and wife Jeanie Bucher; and Paul Gray and wife Patti and their children, Scott and wife Kristy and Mike and fiance Kim Logenbacher. She is also survived by three stepsons, Joe Lee and wife Rosemary and his children, Melissa and husband Kirk Cloniger and their children, Duncan and Mackenzie and Michelle and husband Tim Cooper and their daughter, Madison; and Jim and Sandy Lee and their children, Christopher and wife Lyndsay their child, James, and Brian Lee; Nelson and wife Lia and children, Peter and Grace. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews, Gray Appleton, Nadine Van Orsdel, Pauline Hudkins, Bob Appleton, Mary Jane Richardson, Joe Boyd Hurley, Dottie Hurley, Marian Barry, David Roddey, Bob Roddey and their families.

There was a memorial service celebrating the life of Mary Hurley Gray Lee led by her great-nephew, the Rev. Dr. Edwin Hurley and the Rev. Dari Rowen at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Warren on Saturday, Dec. 8. A reception for family and friends followed at the church.

Those desiring to send a memorial may send it to the Presbyterian Church in Estherville.