Beloved daughter, mother, sister and friend, Barbara Jean Gray peacefully passed away at Dominican Hospital in Soquel on July 10th at the age of 75 after her second battle with cancer. Barbara was born in San Francisco, CA to Paul and Estelle Unruh. She lived in Santa Cruz County for 72 years. Barbara’s maternal lineage goes back a few centuries in Watsonville and is a direct descendent of the Amesti and Pinto families. The Amesti family was granted the Rancho Los Corralitos Mexican land grant in 1823 before the state of California existed.
During World War II, her father Paul, worked in the Shipyard in Marin County. Because of the need for housing, Marin City was developed. Barbara won a contest when they lived there and became the “Baby of Marin City” helping christen the new city.
She graduated from Mora High School and then married her childhood sweetheart, Kenneth Gray, and were together for 56 years. Ken Gray recently passed away in 2016.
Barbara Gray was a homemaker when her children were young and lived in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. In 1982, when the children were older, along with her husband, opened up Gray’s Hallmark in Watsonville and eventually closed it after 15 successful years.
Barbara was a woman of many wonderful traits. She was a prankster and loved showing her happiness and helping people.
She was an active member of Holy Eucharist Catholic Community in Corralitos and was also a part of many charitable organizations such as the Corralitos Women’s’ Club, Women’s Christian in Commerce, Make a Wish Foundation and Soroptimist International.
She is preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Gray and her father, Paul Unruh.
Barbara is survived by her 104 year old mother, Estelle Unruh, children, Russell, (Kathy Oliver) of Watsonville; Jeffery (Mark Frizzell) of San Francisco; Matthew (Melanie) of Normal Illinois; brother, Larry Unruh (Alfred Gomes) of Concord; grandchildren Cameron Gray of Laughlin, NV, Claire Gray of Waterford, WI; Grace Gray of Normal, IL, Annie Gray of Normal, IL
A celebration of her life will be at the Holy Eucharist Catholic Community in Corralitos, Friday July 20th at 11:00 AM with a reception following in the church’s patio. A memorial and rosary will be held at Ave Maria Chapel in Watsonville, the night before, Thursday, July 19th from 5-9 PM. Burial will be at the Pajaro Valley Memorial Park. Flowers can be purchased at Alladin Nursery in Watsonville or donations to the Make A Wish Foundation.