SANIBEL, Fla. Kay Jean Kenemuth Gray, of Sanibel, Fla., died September 15, 2022, with her family by her side. She was 80 years old.
Known as Kay Jean in school and Jean afterward, she was born in Franklin and grew up in Fern.
She was the daughter of Fern residents Theda Perry Kenemuth and Kermit N. Kenemuth.
Kay Jean attended the Ashland Elementary School, the Keystone Joint School and Keystone High School. She was president of her 1959 high school class and took part in numerous school activities.
But it was her participation in the senior class play that changed her life. While she had known Knox resident Ed Gray since sixth-grade, they never spent time together until then. She asked him for a ride home after play practice, and that started a love story that lasted 63 years.
Kay Jean attended Penn State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
They married, after graduation, in Ninevah, Ashland Township. She worked as an elementary school teacher in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and Wescosville. A daughter of educators, Jean took great pride in her work at the schools
and brought that love of learning into her households in Allentown and Edina, Minn. Books
were always by her side; no holiday went uncelebrated.
Jean could make almost anything with yarn and fabric. Sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting she could do it all. When her daughters married on her beloved Sanibel Island
she created tote bags for every attendee. She had a knack for crafts.
Jean also loved flowers and spent hours gardening in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. She loved bringing beauty into the world and appreciated the greenery of her home on Sanibel.
She traveled with her husband and family on many cherished trips.
Perhaps as a nod to how her love story began, Jean continued an appreciation for theater throughout her life. She also enjoyed card games. No one ever beat her at Rummikub.
Kay Jean is survived by her husband, C. Edward Gray of Sanibel; her daughters Christine Gray (Don Faust) of Yardley and Catherine Gray Ardecki (Tom Ardecki) of Sewell, N.J.; as well as her brother Dale Kenemuth (Marjorie) of Potomac, Md. and nine nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, as well as; her brother John "Jack" Kenemuth; and her sister Sarah Jane Kenemuth Zaidi.
Family and friends will be received from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, September 30, at William N. Rupert Mortuary, Inc., 430 Mendenhall Avenue, Knox.
A private burial will be held at Fern Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the KCCure Papillary Kidney Cancer fund or the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Fund, 3333 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, Fla. 33957.
Online condolences may be sent to Jean's family at http://www.rupertfuneralhomes.com.