February 7, 2013
Norma Kate McElwee Graham Gray
UNION - Services for Norma Kate McElwee Graham Gray will be held Friday, at 11 a.m., at Beulah Baptist Church, with Rev. Byron Howell and Rev. Gary Rivers officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery with Stephens Funeral Home of Union in charge of the arrangements.
Mrs. Gray, 95, of Decatur, affectionately known as "Mama Kate", entered peacefully into the presence of her Heavenly Father on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at her daughter's home in Long Beach. She was born to Herman and Lora Smith McElwee on Oct. 19, 1917 in Newton County, and grew up in Decatur. She later married William Eugene (Genie) Graham of Decatur, and he served in World War I in the Navy.
Kate was an active member of Beulah Baptist Church. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living member of her church. She was a woman of God and a student of the Bible. She loved her Sunday School class and enjoyed teaching it for many years.
At the age of 50, after she had raised her family, Kate earned her nursing degree from MCC. While there, she became a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She spent eight years as a traveling nurse and later worked at Laird Hospital of Union for many years. Her desire was to work until 80 years of age
She was a member of the Eastern Star, Gold Star Mothers, Newton County Genealogical Society, and the American Legion.
Among her favorite activities were reading, cooking and traveling. One of her most adventurous trips was going to Ireland with her three sisters seeking out their Irish heritage. Her all-time favorite trips were the many she took to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Known as a loving, caring woman, she always helped people in time of need. Kate loved life and lived it to the fullest and her desire was to be remembered as a woman of substance.
Survivors include her daughter, Charlotte Nabors (James) of Long Beach; sons: Gene K. Graham (Jerry) of Fairhope, Ala., Jerry Graham (Dewilla) of Decatur, John Henry Graham (Velma) of Union, and James S. Graham (Brenda) of Little Rock; 13 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren; sister, Helen Kramer of Gretna, La.; sister-in-law, Eiko McElwee of Oklahoma City, Okla.; a host of nieces and nephews; step-sons: Eugene Gray of Meridian, and Allen Gray of Jackson; three step-grandchildren; and, five step-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husbands: Genie Graham and Clarence Gray; parents, Herman and Lora McElwee; sons: Byran Mack and Joe Graham; grandson, Jason Nabors; sisters: Havis Caldwell and Wilmer Ledbetter; and, brothers: Wilbur, Joe and Herman McElwee Jr.
Pallbearers will be her grandsons: John K. Graham, Travis Graham, Jimmy Nabors, Jeff Nabors, Michael Graham and Mark Graham.
Memorials may be made to The
or Gideon's International.
The family wishes to express gratitude to Dr. Joel Callahan and the caring nurses at Odessey Hospice on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Visitation will be today, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the funeral home. Family visitation will be one hour prior to the memorial service.