Thompson Everett “Tip” Gray was born on a Tuesday the week before spring in 1905 in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. He was the second child and only son of Lott Dulan (sp) Gray and his wife Alice Madora Thompson Gray. His mother died a few months after giving birth to his younger sister Anna Belle (Annabelle Gray Wilson). Tip was 2 years old and his older sister Edna (Nancy Edna Gray Trussell) had recently turned 6.
During Alice’s illness or perhaps upon her death, Tip and Edna and their father moved in with one of his older sisters, Belle Gray Houston, and her family. Baby Anna Belle was taken in by her mother’s parents, who still had several children at home. The siblings would live in separate households for seven years until their father married Lessie Baine, a stepmother they did not remember fondly.
In 1985, Tip died several weeks before his 80th birthday. His ashes were scattered beneath the Turner Oak in Greenwood Memorial Park, Fort Worth, Texas. [During the Civil War, early Fort Worth settler Charles Turner buried gold under this tree on his farm rather than purchasing Confederate notes. This gold was later used to provide financial aid to Fort Worth during the reconstruction period.]
Tip’s widow, Sabella, kindly sent me a letter about 10 years ago about her beloved husband (transcribed below):
I met Tip in Corpus Christi Texas in late summer of 1937 – He was manager of coffee co that territory, seemed lonely, and we fell in love. Just before our planned wedding date the company transferred him to West Virginia. He stayed there about a week, quit his job and returned. we married March 26, 1938. We went to Houston, Tx and he started working for Real Silk Hosiery Mills out of Indiana – direct selling – men and women clothing. The coffee co offered him a good deal and we moved to Tyler, Texas in 1941.
He again went back with Real Silk, transferred to Texarkana with them as manager. Within a year he was transferred to Harlingen, Texas and we stayed there until he went to the Navy in Dec 1942 – to boot camp in San Diego and then to Aviation Mechanics school in Norman, Oklahoma. Then Olathe, Kansas. Then Miami, Florida – then Kingsville, Texas. All the while he worked on Navy plane. He never went to sea. We bought a small mobile home, and I was able to be with him the whole time.
After war he went back to work for Real Silk as manager of Ft Worth Tex territory. There we stayed until his death in 1985. He was cremated and ashes scattered in a garden at Greenwood Cemetery in Ft Worth.
His hobbies = He loved golf, cards, hated the beach, we traveled a a lot in the U.S., took cruises, and enjoyed life and each other.
His favorite food – seafood – and apple pie = He was very patient until I learned to cook.
Never lost his temper – very gentle, shy in a way. Loved selling – loved me and I still miss him…'”