Grace Alicia Gray of Mt. Pleasant, SC, died Tuesday, January 6, in a traffic accident. Alicia was three days short of her 63rd birthday, having been born on January 9, 1952, in Beaumont, Texas. She is survived by her mother, Bettye Parrish of Mt. Pleasant; brother and sister-in-law Warren and Margaret Gray of Lynch, Kentucky; one nephew, Shannon Gray of Campbellsville, KY; and one niece, Tamara Michelle Kendrick of Lawrenceburg, KY, along with one great nephew, Caleb Kendrick, and two great nieces, Sarah and Rachel Kendrick, also of Lawrenceburg. She is also survived by a great number of other family members and friends, including a lot of very devoted ones acquired during the last two years in South Carolina as well as long-time friends and family living in Texas and various other places. She was preceded in death by all her grandparents and by her father, Frank Gray and her stepfather, Mike Rose.
Alicia grew up in Beaumont and Houston, Texas, graduating from South Park High School in 1970. She was raised in a close-knit family in Beaumont, with aunt, uncle, two cousin, and grandparents living in three adjacent lots, more or less as one family. In later years, she lived in a variety of places–mostly living in Texas and Tennessee, but also spending some time in Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, and out west. She worked for years as a travel agent, though she took a break from that to get a degree in Social Work from the University of Texas in Dallas in the 90’s before eventually returning to travel agency work. She also had excellent clerical skills, great musical talent (both as a singer and a guitar player), and artistic ability as a painter. She loved to travel and visited Thailand, Peru, Greece, Turkey, the Caribbean, England, France. Those trips were mostly tours; her favorite trip was one to Ireland, where she simply rented a car and traveled around the country, north and south, on her own, staying in bed and breakfasts, doing things at her own pace.
She always had the courage to try new things, yet lacked the self-confidence to stick with one thing and make the most of it in one place. She found that self-confidence, that happiness, that new kind of courage here on the coast of South Carolina, and we who love her so much are so very grateful that God led her to that. We will miss her, but we keep her fondly in our minds and feel her spirit still with us.
This evening, January 9, on Alicia’s 63rd birthday, the local restaurant Coconut Joe’s will close down for two hours from 6:00 to 8:00 for a service of celebration and remembrance of Alicia Gray. Her friends and family in Texas and Kentucky, most of whom could not make this observance, will get together for another service sometime in the near future.