Wendy Lea Gray, DeeDee, friend, lover of life, died on October 5, 2022 at Hiland Cottage Hospice House in Petoskey, with her family by her side.
Born in Caro, Michigan, Wendy enjoyed an adventurous childhood with her parents and siblings. Bike rides, camping trips, softball, girl scouts, and the simplicity of going out to look for deer with his dad after his long day at work were some of his favorite things. She later graduated from Houghton Lake High School and married her high school sweetheart, Shawn. Wendy attended Central Michigan University for a year before deciding to be a full-time mom and housewife. , Wendy provided childcare in her home and later began a career at Kilwins Chocolates, where she worked for over 20 years.
Wendy loved traveling with her husband, family and friends, and last visited South Florida with her family in April. Mackinac Island was one of his favorite places to visit nearby. She also treasured spending time in her parents’ and daughter’s family cabins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and enjoyed cruising with her husband with the top down in one of the many convertibles they owned over the years. Wendy was also a talented artist, nature enthusiast, and an avid reader who loved Steven King.
To know Wendy was to love her. Whether it was a parent, friend, caregiver, co-worker, or stranger on the street, she had an effortless way to bring joy and laughter in your world. She bestowed memorable nicknames on those she cherished – nicknames that felt like a gift to those they received, as they always came with unique explanations and stories. Once given a nickname, she only referred to you forever. His stupidity and his sense of humor always brought lightness and made life more pleasant, even in his last days. She had an incredibly big and forgiving heart, always putting others before herself. Her death is deeply felt by the many who love her, though they find peace and comfort in knowing that she is with her Heavenly Father and finally free from pain.
Wendy is survived by her heartbroken husband of 45 years, Shawn, and their two children Adam Gray and Kiley (Paul) Marquardt. She leaves behind her four grandchildren, Cameron Gray, Eva Gray, Alexander Marquardt and Noah Marquardt, who were her pride and joy. Her beloved siblings, Mark (Tina) Schrader, Mary (Dave) Martin, Tammy (Dick) Mitchell and her doting stepmother, Estella Gray, also mourn her death. She will be sadly missed by eight nieces and nephews, twelve great-nieces and nephews, and several dear friends whom she adored. She will continue to walk alongside those she loved every day. Invisible and unheard of, but never far from heart and thought.
Wendy is predeceased by her parents, Lee and Eldonna Schrader, and her grandparents, Wayne and Maxine Evans.
A private service is scheduled for immediate family only at Greenwood Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to pay their respects and share their memories at a celebration of Wendy’s life on Saturday, October 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Petoskey Bayview Country Club at 2328 Country Club Rd., Petoskey.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for charitable donations to be made to Wendy’s beloved niece and her family to help with medical bills as their 14-year-old son battles a rare form of cancer. Donations can be made directly via Venmo to @ChristinaRenkiewicz or mailed to Fifth Third Bank, CARE OF The Renkiewicz Family Account, 300 E. Mitchell St., Petoskey, MI 49770.