Beatrice Kearney Gray
Beatrice Kearney Gray
  • December 3, 1940 - March 28, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Share This Obituary

Mrs. Beatrice Kearney Gray, 76, departed this life on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at her daughter's home in Raleigh, North Carolina after a long illness.

Known as "Bebe" to family and "Bea" to friends, Mrs. Gray was born on December 3, 1940 in Franklinton, NC to Beaddie and Ruth Kearney. She spent her early childhood in Franklinton, and later moved to Philadelphia, PA where she graduated from high school in 1958 and later trained to become a secretary.

Bea married Reginald "Reggie" Gray in November of 1966, and soon moved to Raleigh, NC where she began her career as a secretary at IBM. They would later move to Durham, NC in 1972, where she lived for over 40 years. The two of them had two children: Sheila and Tangela ("Tangie").

After her husband's untimely death in 1978, Bea decided to stay in Durham to raise her two daughters to the best of her ability. She had become a "stay-at home" mother in 1975, and did not go back to work full-time until 1988. Bea Gray worked hard to put both of her children through college, ensuring that they both completed their undergraduate degrees without any debt.

Bea Gray has been described by friends and family as kind, loving, generous, and wonderful. She worked with her best friend and neighbor of over 40 years, Ruth Melvin, to ensure that the young girls in their neighborhood were exposed to different opportunities in their "Girls' Club." In the neighborhood, Bea was known for tirelessly working in her yard and garden, which she considered to be therapeutic. She was a talented seamstress, a great cook (though she hated to be in the kitchen), a clever "DIY-er," and made some of the best lemonade anyone has ever tasted.

She retired from IBM as an executive secretary in 2002 after over 25 years of service. She then spent time focusing on her "Memory Garden" - a plot in her yard which she dedicated to relatives who had passed away. She also focused much of her time on her grandchildren, always attending any event centered around them, from the first day of school and school plays to recitals and graduations. She was a wonderful, devoted mother and grandmother who was always willing to help her children and grandchildren to the best of her abilities.

Bea was preceded in death by her husband, Reginald Gray, her parents, Beaddie and Ruth Kearney, and her sister, Patricia Kearney Brown.

She is survived by her daughters, Sheila Patricia Gray of Durham, NC and Tangie Gray Fleming (Asa) of Raleigh, NC; five grandchildren, Sierra Foster, Grayson Foster, Sophia Foster, Asa "Deuce" Fleming II, and Alexis Fleming; two brothers-in-law, James Clark (Dee) of San Diego, CA and Rev. Charles Gray (Eula) of Winston-Salem, NC; two sisters-in-law, Ann Dew of Winston-Salem, NC and Carol Brown of New Haven, CT; three very special cousins, Jean Williams of Greensboro, NC, Janye Stella Williams of Greensboro, NC, and Kaye Williams Rogers (Sterling) of Lake Wylie, SC; and a host of family and friends, including cousins, nephews, nieces, wonderful neighbors, and former coworkers.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m., Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. The family will receive guests one hour prior to the service. Burial will immediately follow at Raleigh Memorial Park. Online condolences may be sent to the family at