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Ms. Alma Gray
Ms. Alma Gray
Alma (Allen) Gray was born on October 18, 1936 in Indianola, Mississippi to James & Hattie Allen. She was the 4th child of this union. The whole family relocated north to Moline, Illinois and on then to East Chicago Heights. She was baptized at Christ Temple #2 under the leadership of Reverend Irons. Alma and her sister were backup singers for famous individuals such as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and other Motown legends from Detroit, Michigan. Alma loved baseball. She played for the Girls Red Sox’s Team of Chicago Heights.
Alma met and married Arthur Alexander and from this union, bore 3 children; Vernessal, Arthur Jr. and Kathleen Alexander. She enjoyed watching 2 soap operas on television and drinking Pepsi with peanuts. In 1957, her life changed and she married Charles Sharp and was blessed with 4 children from this union; Michael, Sharon, (twins) Avery and Aaron Sharp. In 1958, she moved herself and her children to Oakland, California to start a new life.
In Oakland, she met and married Jack L. Gray. Alma loved playing cards and gambling. At a later time, most of her siblings followed her journey and moved to Oakland, CA as well. Alma later started a baseball team with family and friends.
Alma loved music, especially the Blues. She said that Johnny Taylor was her man, and anysong by him, she loved along with B.B. King, Marvin Sease and Little Milton. The last 2 ½ years, Alma would wake up to Johnny’s songs. She knew every word to his songs and she would say “You go Johnny.” Her new favorite drink was Johnny Walker Red & Courvoisier and Hennessey with milk (Yes, milk.) She would always say “Milk is good for you!”
Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas was her “special time.” There was always a demand for her cornbread dressing and sweet potato pies. It was special to all of her kids too because she would make each one of them a pie for their families. She met a true friend, Rita Love (deceased) and learned how to shoot pool. She then joined the Oakland, CA Women’s Pool League. Alma won 7, 1st place trophies for the most games won. Alma always “dressed to impress” and would light up a room whenever she walked in. If you asked for advice, be ready for the truth no matter how much it hurt. She never bit her tongue about anything she said.
To our special "Free Spirited" mother AKA "Red and "Old Folks" you have retired now and accepted your wings. “REST IN PEACE!”
Alma Gray was preceded in death by her parents, James & Hattie Allen; 7 siblings: Jimmie (Julia), Eula (Fred), Erlene (Less), Mable (Fred), Maggie (Arnell), Flora (David) and Myrle Lam; 3 children: Michael, Avery & Arron; 4 grandchildren: Jasmine, Vernessa, Stanley, and Avery Jr.
She leaves to Cherish her memories 10 children: Vernessal (George) Drew of Atlanta, Ga; Arthur Jr. of Sacramento, CA , Kathleen Alexander of Stockton, CA, Sharon (Ken) Sterling of Sacramento, CA , Lela, Kenon and Jacob Sharp of Chicago, IL, Stacey Kemp and Asia Macoon of Oakland, CA and Katie Allison of Arkansas.18 grandchildren: Trinetta Black of Fort Meade, MD, Derreo (Carlisha) Black, Louis Fisher, Ken Sterling, Quiana Fields and Willie Saxton of Sacramento, CA, Jamal Alexander and Jack Pickens of Stockton, CA. Taira Pickens, of Las Vegas, NV, Murice (Vanessa) Alexander of Arizona; Leon Sharp and Lea Sharp and Lea Sharp of Fresno, CA,Tabatha Sharp of Alabama; Michelle, Rio-chelle, Roy, Rosa and Rodrick Alexander of Atlanta, GA; 39 great grandkids; 7 great-great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews of Chicago, IL and Modesto, CA and the state of Texas. A special cousin: Helen McWoodson; Nephew Melvin Flowers; Friend: Gene White.
To Sharon, our youngest sister: Thank you for being there for us!