Today's Paper Arkansas News LEARNS Guide Legislature Sports Core Values Puzzles Newsletters Public Notices Archive Obits Opinion Story Ideas

Ruth Ann Deming Gray

of Little Rock, AR, 1928 - 2014

RUTH ANN DEMING GRAY, 86, of Little Rock, died October 26 at home following a valiant year-long bout of rare inoperable cancer. Mom never complained and always kept her grace and sense of humor. She forever remains an example to those around her of how to live with a joyous spirit. Perhaps she is best summed up by several long-time friends who told us "her beauty, inside and out, infectious smile, sharp wit, and positive outlook on life" were always a wonderful influence, making her a rare person indeed.
Born April 11, 1928, in Indianapolis, Ind. to Arthur and Ruth Deming, a true love story began when mom met Tom Gray at Broad Ripple high school. Mom liked to tell us they were ‘dropped, pinned, engaged, and married,' in the parlance of the time. Their love continued 70 years; they were married for 64 years. Side-by-side and devoted partners, they lived life to the fullest on their own terms. Mom was happiest when she was with family and friends. Most trips included their favorite past-times of sightseeing, sailing, and tennis. They sailed many times up and down the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the inter-coastal waterway, and in the Caribbean. Memorable cruises were taken to Alaska, Greece, and Turkey. Mom and dad toured Mexico with close friends, enjoyed trips to Florida for decades with the family, and explored European cities a few times with their kids and their spouses. They went on scenic railroad travels out West, and visited most cities and sights in the United States. But they were just as happy camping and canoeing the Buffalo River, sailing Lake Maumelle (they were charter members), or waterskiing on Lake Ouachita. For most of these travels they were accompanied by family and friends. Mom also loved playing bridge, Scrabble, working crosswords, and reading mysteries -- preferably sitting next to dad in front of a fire with an ever-present cat on her chair. She was an accomplished oil and watercolor artist, and was quite the cardsharp and wordsmith. Only in games of gin or Scrabble did her competitive edge get the best of her, and seldom did anyone else win, including her husband and grandkids.
Mom was everyone's favorite elementary school teacher. She taught fourth and fifth grade for 30 years after receiving her degree from Butler University, where she was also a Kappa Kappa Gamma. Mom taught in Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, and when dad's stint in the Air Force brought them to Arkansas, she taught in Jacksonville. After moving to Little Rock, mom taught at Holy Souls, Carver, Otter Creek Elementary, and Joe T. Robinson Elementary. She went back to school for an advanced degree in the early ‘80s and ended her career teaching the gifted and talented. She delighted in her students, and brought the same degree of joy and enthusiasm to teaching that she did to everything she enjoyed.
She is survived by devoted husband Thomas Gray; children Steve (Susan) Gray; Amy (‘Excy'Johnston) Gray Light; grandchildren, Thomas Asher and Sarah C. Gray; sister, Jane Lahr of Indiana, Allison Deming, and numerous family members and dear friends, including Carol Williams.
The family would like to thank Dr. Govindarajan and his nurse Diane and the many medical professionals and staff at UAMS for their expert care. And AR Hospice—nurse Paula in particular. Also private caregivers Rosalind Mix and Tiwanda Overton, whose devotion and compassion to both mom and dad were exceptional, especially as mom transitioned through her hospice journey.
A visitation at Ruebel Funeral Home will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. this Wednesday, October 29th. Church services will be held at Second Presbyterian Church on Thursday October 30th, at 11 a.m. An online guest book may be signed by visiting In lieu of flowers, if anyone would like to make a memorial in her honor, please consider giving to FuRR -- Feline Rescue and Re-home (, or Wing Spur Wild Horses ( Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home,

Published October 28, 2014

Ruebel Funeral Home
6313 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR
Phone: 501-666-0123