Our knowledgeable staff members are passionate about providing families guidance and support during the funeral planning process and well after the funeral. Together, we can honor your loved one’s life while beginning your grief journey.
Mary Lou Gray
Mary Lou Gray
December 29, 1931 - December 2, 2017
Mary Lou Bellamy Gray served as President of Gray Mortuary for 35 years, longer than any other family member. Prior to becoming President, she worked in various capacities for almost the same amount of time. Her death left a significant void in the funeral home family and community, but her legacy of service before self is maintained today.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, she met James Lee Gray, Sr. of Pelzer while he was a student at Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science in Nashville. When he proposed marriage, so the story goes, she answered, "As long as I don't have to work in your family business." After his graduation and their subsequent marriage in 1952, they temporarily moved into an apartment with his parents, Sam and Frances Gray, behind where the current funeral home was being constructed. Samuel Lee Gray was President of Gray Mortuary. Within days after a brief honeymoon, Mary Lou and Jim were having lunch with his parents when Sam asked Mary Lou to come to the funeral home after she finished her meal. He needed a deceased woman's hair styled into a bun. Thus began her 60 plus years of service to the funeral home. Upon her husband's death in 1980, she assumed the presidency. With her keen leadership, strong work ethic and genuine care for her community, the number of families served tripled during her presidency. Instead of merely serving in Pelzer and Williamston, the business serves southern Greenville County and northern Anderson County. During her tenure, she oversaw two major building projects, the chapel in 1985 and a visitation wing in 1997. Years before her retirement, she left the funeral home debt-free to her sons, Lance and Lee, who now provide leadership. She's also survived by a daughter, Lori Gray Simpson of Easley, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was a member of Pelzer United Methodist Church and formerly served on the First Citizens Bank Advisory Board.
Samuel "Lance" Gray, named for his grandfather, is a third generation funeral director and embalmer who joined the family business full time in 1990. Lance graduated from Clemson University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. Furthering his education, he graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in 1992. Lance is married to Shea Smith-Gray, and they have one daughter, Meridith Olivia, who attends Anderson University. He is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston where he formerly served as a deacon and currently serves on the Anderson University Parent Association.
James "Lee" Gray, Jr., named for his father, is a third generation funeral director who joined the family business in 1977. After graduating from Palmetto High School, he earned degrees from Anderson and Lander universities, obtaining a Business Administration degree from Lander in 1976. A licensed funeral director, Lee also uses his creative talents to maintain the landscaping surrounding the funeral home as well as its interior. From 1976 until 2016, he served as organist at Faith Presbyterian Church, formerly Pelzer Presbyterian Church, where he has also served as an elder. He is a former board member of the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Commission (PACAC) and currently serves on the boards of the Pelzer Historical Association and the Pine Lawn Cemetery Association. He is the father of Brooks and Rosemary Gray and is a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Greenville where he is an acolyte, usher, and a member of The Churchyard Committee.
Shea Smith-Gray is a Williamston native and has been employed with Gray Mortuary since 1994. She is a 1993 summa cum laude graduate of Anderson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education. She is also a licensed funeral director. Shea is married to Lance Gray, and they have one daughter, Meridith Olivia, who is also a graduate of Anderson University and a third grade teacher at Hunt Meadows Elementary School. Shea is a lifelong member of Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston and serves on the Anderson University Alumni Board.
Larry Strom is a licensed funeral director and embalmer and has been employed by Gray Mortuary since 1981. He is a 1977 graduate of the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science and formerly served on the South Carolina State Board of Funeral Service. Larry married Connie Allen Strom in 1977. Upon her death in 2010, they were the proud parents of three grown children, Allen, Aaron and Alyssa. He has been happily married to Carol Abercrombie Strom, who was also widowed, since May 16, 2014. In their blended family, Larry and Carol have ten grandchildren. Larry and Carol are members of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Williamston.
Wayne King is a licensed funeral director who retired from Furman University in 2012 after a 30-year career. A Taylors/Greenville native and resident, both of his parents grew up in southern Greenville County where he maintains many family connections. He holds degrees from Mars Hill University and Florida State University. He serves on the FSU board of the Hardee Center for Leadership in Higher Education and on the Dean's Circle Advisory Council. Wayne is also chair of the Fundraising Committee of the Greenville Chorale Board. He is a life-long member of Taylors First Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon and currently serves as Church Clerk.
Rev. Mark Spearman
A Westminster native and licensed funeral director since 1993, Mark has served as a minister of various Baptist churches for more than 35 years. Mark served as a Chaplain of the South Carolina's Funeral Directors Association. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Ministry at Tennessee Temple University and has completed work on his Master's Degree. He and his wife, Christine, are parents of Connor and Carson Grace.
A native of Fort Mill, Jaime joined the funeral home staff in July of 2014. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Winthrop University. She married Tim Carter of Williamston and they are the parents of sons, Dylan and Tyler. Jaime is an active member of Calvary Baptist Church.
Brooks is a fourth generation member of the funeral home family. She is the daughter of Lee Gray and Debra Brooks Gray. In addition to various duties as an administrative assistant, Brooks is often seen in the front office or at visitation where she greets visitors, directs them and answers questions. Brooks graduated from Palmetto High School, attended Greenville Technical College and is a member of Faith Presbyterian Church where she formerly served as an elder and sang in the church choir.
Mark McWhite is originally from Greenville but has spent most of his life in Pelzer. His main contributions to the mortuary are assisting with funeral services, overseeing cremations, and transport. He and his wife, Cynthia Beacham McWhite, are the parents of two married daughters, Rebecca and Kelsey, and grandparents of two grandsons, Finn and Bryce. They are also active members of Zion Assembly Church of God in Greenville.
A Pendleton High School graduate, Marty Brewer joined the funeral home staff in 2011. He and his wife, Marie, are the parents of three children and grandparents of seven. Marty is member of Honea Path Church of God of Prophecy.
Gray Mortuary would be unable to operate smoothly and efficiently without the help of part-time funeral associates who are willing to be called at a moment's notice. They represent a variety of current and former professions from ministers to musicians and more. Most importantly, they are compassionate group who care for the families we serve. The part-time funeral associates are as follows:
- Tommy Bennett
- Steve Candler
- Carl Headley
- Jacob Hogg
- Eddie Kirby
- Barry Thompson
- Troy Thompson
- Seretha Worley
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