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Anna Johnson Gray Lawrence was born October 8, 1924, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the union of Dorsey Johnson and Pinley Allen Johnson. She received her education in the public schools of Houston County, Alabama, where she excelled in basketball. There she attended and joined the churches in the clay soil of Alabama. Later in life, she moved her membership to the sandy soil and churches of Georgia: first to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, then to Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. She remained a member of Mount Olive and attended both churches until her health failed.
To the sandy soils of Georgia, she brought her first child Christine Stovall from a previous relationship. Here she met and married Simmie D. Gray Sr.; this relationship bore three children: Simmie Gray Jr., Willie Pearl Gray, and Nathaniel Gray. Christine, Pearl and Nathaniel preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by two daughters-in-law, Joyce and Eula; a granddaughter, Christina Gray Newsome; and her former husband, Morris Lawrence.
On October 22, 2023, Gabriel sounded his horn and called her name; SHE WAS READY!! She answered his call, bowed her head, closed her eyes and went to sleep. Her soul entered the Pearly Gates to be with the angels and family gone on before her.
She leaves to cherish her memories three sons: Simmie Gray Jr. of Plainfield, NJ, Eddie C. Gray (Gwen), and Jonathan Severson, both of Orlando, FL [sons of Simmie Sr.]; along with two special cousins, Hazel Allen Jacobs (Claude) of Atlanta, GA, and Mamie Gray of Blakely, GA; and a host other cousins and relatives too numerous to mention. She also leaves grands and great grands–three special grands: Demetrie Gray (Wanda) of Barnesville, GA, Claude A. Gray of Blakely, GA, and Simmie D. Gray III of Plainfield, NJ; as well as two adopted grands, Mark Kemper (Helen) of New York City, NY, and Orlando Casada (Lisa) of Plainfield, NJ.