Cora Ida ‘Gray’ Donaldson

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cora Ida “Gray” Donaldson was born April 16, 1921 in Beatrice, Alabama to Lucy Cora Daugette and William Henry Gray. She was the eighth of nine children, reared by her father and her Aunt Callie after the age of 4 when she lost her mother to childbirth.

Cora grew up in Rosinton, Alabama. During the week, she worked on her father’s farm and on Sundays attended Rosinton Methodist Church. Revered Sid Mathison was a significant spiritual influence in her life and she would later enjoy hearing his son, Dr. John Ed Mathison, preach at The Church in the Pines on Lake Martin.

A 1939 graduate of Robertsdale High School, Cora was the first in her family to receive a high school diploma.

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After graduation, Cora moved to Mobile and started her path as an independent, career woman.  It was in Ladies Shoes at Gayfers Department Store that she gained a loyal clientele, receiving many awards for her top sales and teamwork. Not only did she provide her customers with superior service and style advice, she instilled confidence and positivity with everyone, no matter where they came from or where they might be going.

As a working woman, it was customary to be called by your last name. She realized she preferred this to Cora and so she began using her last name both so professionally and socially, and was called Gray by friends and family for the remainder of her life.

She married Thomas Richard Amesbury in July 1949 and gave birth to two daughters, Patsy and Kathy. Later in life, Gray and her “two girls” filled many vacations, holidays and adventures together with lots of laughter and memories.

Gray kept her hands busy. Whether it was cooking, working in her yard, sewing or crocheting, Gray loved to work and loved to give, often gifting others with the fruit of her labor and talents. She brought her signature pound cake, pecan pie or buttermilk pie to every doctors visit and would make sure she had an extra baby blanket or crocheted cap ready to give anytime she heard mention of a newborn baby.

In April 1978, she married Gene Donaldson and they enjoyed traveling, gardening and grandchildren together.

Gray moved to Troy, Alabama in 2012, residing at Noble Manor and finding many friendships in both the residents and staff. She enjoyed her many faithful visitors from various churches and community groups, particularly the deacons.

In Mobile she had been a long standing member of West Side United Methodist Church and the Samaritan Class. At Noble Manor, she looked forward to her Sunday School class and Bible study and would often to encourage her fellow residents to join her.

Gray had a true vitality for life and was always ready for a competitive game.  As a young woman, she played Canasta and then enjoyed SkipBo and Rummikub in her later years. She enjoyed dancing and was known to play dress up for her grandchildren, often being the surprise character in the family’s annual 4th of July boat parade.

Gray Donaldson went to her heavenly home February 11, 2017, surrounded by her daughters-her pride and joy.

Funeral services for Gray will be held Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 2:00 PM from the chapel of Green Hills Funeral Home  with Reverend Donnie Dunn, Reverend Steve Winton and Reverend Van Bush officiating. Burial will follow in the Green Hills Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM prior to the service at Green Hills Funeral Home.

She is survived by her daughters, Patricia Amesbury Weed-Hollis (Jerry) and Kathryn Gray Amesbury Campbell (Kenny); her grandchildren, Scarlet Weed Stokes (Brent), Kenneth Harper Weed, junior (Kim), Stephanie Gray Campbell Baker (Matt), Ellen Weed Estes (Ricky), Troy Thomas Weed (Ashley), Newton Kenneth Campbell, junior (Jamie), and Christopher James Campbell (Stephanie); 14 great-grandchildren, and numerous devoted nieces and nephews from the Gray and Amesbury families.

She is proceeded in death by her parents, her siblings, her husband and son-in-law, Kenneth H. Weed, senior.

A special gratitude to Dr. Eric Law, the nurses and staff at Compassus Hospice, and her sitter and special friend, April Milton.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that honorariums be made to Compassus Hospice, Children’s Harbor or a favorite charity. 

The staff of Green Hills Funeral Home is honored to serve the Donaldson family.