Helen Ina Gray passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at the age of 88, with the love of her family surrounding her. She forever touched the lives of all who came to know her. Our beloved Queen Helen affectionately known as “Ma” was born to the late Annie Saddler and Charlie Spencer on November 1, 1932 in Swan Quarter, North Carolina.
Helen received her formal education at Booker T. Washington in Norfolk, Virginia. She strongly advocated for education as the key to a promising future and encouraged her fifteen children to see Higher Education. She retired from the Norfolk Public Schools System after 32 years. Helen also served as an active member of the Eastern Star.
Helen valued her family and anytime that she could spend with them, she looked forward to holidays, family reunions, and birthdays. Helen enjoyed cooking large meals and listening to music with those she loved. She was preceded in death by late husband, Robert O. Cooper; one brother, William Murray; four daughters, Barbara Lynch Mogot, Theresa Jones (Jessie), Sharon Johnson (Renay), and Edna Gilliam (Abraham); one beloved aunt, Mary Whitaker; one granddaughter, Adrienne Jones; one grandson, Tevin Jones; three great-grandsons, Fataj Cooper, Travion Peterson, and Wyleek Eddy.
Helen leaves to cherish her precious memories is her husband, Edward Gray; three sons, Robert Cooper (Alvenetta), William Cooper, and Ormand Cooper (Keala); eight daughters, Rosa Lee Evans (Melvin), Emma Baker (Carl), Romedias Rivers (Stevens), Regina Thomas (Randell), Janel Allen (Dennis), Helen Cooper, Tonya Cooper –White (Luther) and Reshela Cooper; two brothers, Charlie Henry Spencer, Jr. and Otis Spencer; fifty-eight grandchildren, two hundred and twenty great- grandchildren, fifty-one great- great grandchildren, one great- great- great grandchild, Jayden Massey; three step-children, Edward Gray Jr., Bridgette Gray and Renee Gray; two god-children, Micaiah Cooper and Vonnesha Cooper; one special niece, Jacqueline McCain; one best friend, Henrietta Richardson and one grand dog, Coco Cooper and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.