Josephine “Josie” (Priante) Gray passed away peacefully at St. Ann’s Residence in Duluth on Monday, February 4, 2019, five days before her 93rd birthday.
Josephine was born in Ironwood, Michigan, on February 9, 1926, to Italian immigrants, Maria and Joseph Pesavento. After the loss of her father and her adoptive father, Joseph Priante, Josie learned to be resourceful at a young age, tending to the family's farm animals and helping her mother make cheeses and salami to sell locally and support their family. In her early twenties shortly after WWII, she met her true love, Woodward “Woody” Keith Gray. They were married on August 13, 1949 and celebrated 67 wonderful years together before Woody’s passing on June 16, 2017.
Josie and Woody started their family in Bessemer, MI, moved to Superior, WI for five years, and then to Hoyt Lakes, MN, in 1964 where they settled and raised their three children, Carol, Gerry and Diane. In addition to being a devoted homemaker for her family, Josie enjoyed participating in numerous sports with Woody and the kids, especially tennis and golf. She was an avid bowler in the Hoyt Lakes women’s league and enjoyed annual trips to the state bowling tournament with her fun-loving bowling team. Music was a big part of her life and she cherished the fellowship and singing in the Queen of Peace Catholic Church choir for many years. She also loved to dance and took every opportunity to "cut a rug" with Woody, whether at the local VFW or dancing in their living room to the Lawrence Welk show, her favorite. She especially loved participating in family sing-alongs and watching her children and grandchildren perform, expressing their love of music, the same love that she and Woody had instilled.
Josie reflected her Italian heritage in many ways—her looks, her tears of joy and sadness, her passion for cooking and song, her commitment to the Catholic Church, and her deep love and devotion to family. She loved nothing more than to welcome her family home, to surround herself with her children and grandchildren, and to prepare and enjoy delicious and plentiful meals together.
She was preceded in death by her parents; infant twin brothers; husband, Woody; brothers, Peter (Ruth, Isabelle), John (Ann), and Geno (Donna); nephew, Joe Priante.
She is survived by daughters, Carol (Dan) Spielman, Diane (Corrie) Boese; son, Gerry (Cindy) Gray; grandchildren, Nick Spielman, Ryan (Shannon) Boese, Woody (Kyrie) Boese, Dawson, Grayson Boese, Rebecca (Ben) Charlton, Sagan, and David Gray; great-grandchildren, Clara Boese, Alisdrye Boese, Tucker and Priante Charlton; sister-in-law, Gloria Elliott; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be directed to Our Lady of Hope Parish, Aurora, MN; or the St. Ann’s Residence Chapel in Duluth, MN.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 28, 2019, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth, MN with visitation one hour prior.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555.