Floral 13

Donna Sheron (Hughes) Gray

July 23, 1941 ~ July 2, 2022 (age 80)

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Life Reflections

Donna Sheron Hughes Gray entered into this life July 23, 1941, and departed this life Saturday, July 2, 2022. The oldest of five children, she was born to Lolita Sidney and Marcellus Hughes, Sr in Kansas City, KS.

As a child, Donna went to Charles Sumner Elementary School and RT Coles Middle School, both in Kansas City, MO.

For her secondary education, she attended Lincoln High School in Kansas City, MO graduating valedictorian in 1959. Initially, she had no intention of going to college until her biology teacher, Mr. Caruthers, encouraged her to do so. She received a full academic scholarship to attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO. While there, she and another student attempted to solve one of the 5 unsolved math problems in the world under the tutelage of her math professor, Dr Walter Tolbert, one of the men responsible for developing the mathematical equation for the atomic bomb. Donna graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. In 1975, she went on to receive her Masters in Mathematics from UMKC. Even after her formal education, she and a former math colleague attempted to prove the existence of God in a math equation. Her thirst for knowledge compelled her to learn multiple languages including Russian, the language she studied at the collegiate level because of its difficulty. She also enjoyed knitting, crocheting, macrame and latch hook.

Soon after graduating college, she married Luther Brown whom she’d known since elementary school. From this union was born one child, Dana Pryor. She later married a second time to Howard Gray, Sr. To this union was born a second child, Howard Gray, Jr.

Donna was preceded in death by her parents Lolita Sidney White and Marcellus Hughes, Sr., grandmother, Eleanor Monroe, and her brother, Marcellus Hughes, Jr.

Donna leaves to cherish her memories daughter Dana Pryor (Craig) of Lee’s Summit, MO, son Howard Gray (Lucinda) of Kansas City, MO, sister Gina Cheatham of Kansas City, KS, brother Jahi Boseda of Kansas City, MO, brother William White, Sr. (Brydges) of Dallas, TX, grandchildren Joshua, Carlin, Kyrsten, and Miles Gray, as well a host of other relatives and friends.

Donna’s work life began at Southwestern Bell out of college. She went on to become a math and computer science teacher for the Kansas City Missouri Public School District, teaching college algebra, geometry, and computer programming. After 15 years she decided to pivot. She became a systems analyst at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but only for a short period of time.

She wanted to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse, so at the age of 52 she enrolled at Penn Valley Community College School of Nursing. While there, she made an indelible mark on her class, creating study guides for the nurses of color and helping them put their charts on computer long before that was common. During her time in nursing school, she started a vending machine business. Just as she was to complete the nursing program, she suffered from two debilitating strokes, medically removing her from the workforce by her neurologist. This woman of brilliance would not allow this to diminish her innate desire for continual learning. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, she wrote an extensive paper on the origin of AIDS.

Her ways of thinking were unorthodox and uncomfortable for most. The unassuming woman with the beautiful smile was very much her own person, simple in her physical world, but complex in her thinking.

Donna received Jesus the Christ as her personal Savior at an early age and spent her entire life intentionally getting to know him. This example planted the seed which would later harvest into the lives of her children. She was a lifelong student of the Bible, having read it in its entirely numerous times forward and backward. Later in her life she began to learn more about the Jewish side of our heritage, studying the Torah as well. She was in the beginning stages of writing a book about the return to Israel when her cognitive decline prevented her from completing it.

 She had a great love for gospel music, and found immense joy in playing piano and organ, so much so she would often awaken late hours of the night with a song in her head she just had to get out on piano. Her admiration for Andrae Crouch took her to numerous concerts, always close to or front row seats. She attended so many, he recognized her and developed a brotherly friendship with her, giving her an inside look into the life of his family as well.


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July 16, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
First Baptist Church
500 Nebraska
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

Celebration of Life
July 16, 2022

11:00 AM
First Baptist Church
500 Nebraska
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

Video is available for this event

Interment Following Funeral Service
July 16, 2022

Mount Hope Cemetery
3400 Parallel Parkway
Kansas City, KS 66104

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