GRAY, Mella Ann
July 20, 1945 — December 14, 2022
Mella Gray (née Cummins) passed away surrounded by her family on December 14, 2022, at the age of 77, in Kelowna, BC, Canada.
Despite having Multiple Myeloma (bone cancer) for the last 3 years, she always maintained a positive attitude and never gave up. Mella always had more concern for others than herself and was selfless right to the very end.
She will be fondly remembered by her loving husband, Ken; her children Patrick (Carole) and Tara (Daryl); grandchildren Johnny and Tommy; siblings Anna, Pat, Oliver (Celine), and Phyllis; cousins; nieces and nephews; neighbours and friends. Mella was predeceased by 3 of her beloved siblings, sisters Ena and Mary, and her brother Tom.
Born in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland, Mella’s spirit of adventure inspired her to leave Dublin and immigrate to Toronto, ON, Canada when she was just 22 years old. There she met Ken, and they married on July 4, 1970. Happily together for over 53 years, they started out in Hagersville, ON, where their son Patrick was born. They packed up and moved across the country to North Vancouver, BC, before moving to the Okanagan Valley. They first lived in Peachland where Tara completed their family, and eventually settled in Kelowna, BC.
Mella enriched the lives of children in need, working as a foster parent for over 20 years. Providing a loving home for 36 children during this time, she focused on kids with physical and mental disabilities. One with whom she developed a special bond, came to her directly from the hospital as a baby remaining until her passing 8 years later. For a time, she held the position of President of the BC Foster Parents Association. She was also recognized for her hard work and dedication as Mother of the Year, with a ceremony at the Peace Arch in Bellingham, Washington.
Loving and kind, Mella was a strong, patient, and generous person, with a great sense of humour who always tried to find the positive and looked for the best in people. She had an amazing ability for making the people around her feel special.
Mella enjoyed socializing with friends and family, painting, bowling, playing cards, reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, watching mysteries, as well as getting outside and walking long distances daily.
During her retirement, Mella was an active member of the social and welcoming committee in her community of Balmoral for many years and enjoyed volunteering whenever possible.
Mella loved her family in Ireland very much and went home to see them as much as possible. She cherished every moment she was able to spend with them, and always felt welcomed with open arms. Her stories of her family in Ireland helped her children feel close to them, even though they were an ocean away.
In recent years, Mella and Ken enjoyed traveling to warm destinations in the winter; including Mexico, Las Vegas, and Hawaii, either by themselves or with family and friends.
A Celebration of Life and Funeral Service will be held for Mella on SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2023, at 11:00 AM (PST), at ST PIUS X CATHOLIC CHURCH (1077 Fuller Ave, Kelowna, BC) with Father Gerald Sekanga presiding, with a reception to follow. If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service. A link will be posted when available. (Please avoid wearing black, if possible, to celebrate her life.)
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“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.”
“The grief of our loss may be with us for a very long time, but the joy of our memories will stay forever.”