Mabel “Gray” Woodley Nunes

Published 7:10 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

Mabel “Gray” Woodley Nunes
Feb. 12, 1925 – April 17, 2016



Mabel “Gray” Woodley Nunes, 91, of 2050 Rivershore Rd, Elizabeth City, NC, passed away Sunday, April 17th, 2016 at her home.

Gray was born on February 12th, 1925 at home in Creswell, NC, the daughter of the late William Clyde and Alenia Phelps Woodley. Her life in Creswell was filled with warm traditions and centered around the home and her church, Mt. Hermon Methodist. She assisted her family in all aspects of the family farm and general store and excelled in school. Gray graduated from Creswell High School in 1942 at the age of seventeen. Following graduation she moved to Norfolk, Va. and resided with her sister and brother-in-law while working for the W.T. Grant Co. While in Norfolk she met Everett Joseph Nunes who was serving in the United States Navy. They were married on March 17th, 1944 and made their home first in Norfolk, then in Everett’s native New Bedford, Ma, prior to settling in Creswell in 1947. There, they owned and operated the Creswell Esso Service Center for fourteen years. Everett’s new teaching career took them to North East, Md in 1960 and then to Elizabeth City in 1965. Gray and Everett strived to preserve their bi-regional heritages and instilled those cultures and traditions in their children.

In Elizabeth City, Gray worked for L.R. Foreman & Sons before returning to the W.T. Grant Co. in the newly opened Southgate Mall. There she worked as the assistant personnel manager, then personnel manager prior to the company enrolling her in a restaurant management program in Atlanta, Ga. Upon completion, she assumed the management of Grant’s restaurant “The Bradford House” and later, Rose’s Restaurant in the same location. She retired in 1987.

Gray received numerous awards for her sales and contributions to the companies and made lifelong friends. The restaurant was an extension of home for both Gray and her family. She assisted many in developing employment skills and encouraged their aspirations.

Gray was a member of Riverside United Methodist Church since 1965 and devoted countless hours to the missions and “building up” of the church. She taught Sunday School, was a President of the United Methodist Women and enjoyed Circle #2 for decades. Gray was an excellent cook, a skilled seamstress, an avid reader and a writer who composed many beautiful poems and prose.

Gray gave of herself tirelessly. She loved, laughed and cried freely. We celebrate her life, her clear and curious mind, her benevolent heart and her unending devotion to family. We cherish the wonderful stories she shared, which were born of an exceptionally good memory, and we strive to preserve the stories. Gray had a tremendous sense of social justice and argued vigorously for the rights of others.

Both strong of opinion and tender of heart, she was precious in every way.

She is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law: Terry and John Everett of Bath, and Dana and Bret Boslau of the home; four beloved grandchildren: Morey Alenia Everett of Wilmington, NC, John William Everett Jr. and wife Taren of San Diego, Ca., Zachary Bret Boslau and wife Alexandra of Elizabeth City, and Lily Gray Boslau of the home; two step-grandchildren; Marlea Boslau Martin and Carly Boslau Lewis and their families; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She is also survived by special friends Janice Dance, Ann Brooks and Kaye Simpson, whose loving care enabled Gray to remain at home. She is predeceased by her siblings Naomi Woodley Green and husband Lawrence, Luther Martin Ambrose and wife Jean, and Carolyn Estelle Woodley.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, April 23rd at 2:00, at Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church, 11424 Newland Road, Creswell, NC, officiated by Reverend Delores Langley and Reverend Tom Hallberg. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive visitors after the service in the fellowship hall and all other times at the residence of Gray, Bret and Dana in Elizabeth City, and at the residence of Terry and John in Bath. Twiford Memorial Chapel, 405 East Church St., Elizabeth City, NC, is serving the family.

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