Dr. Wanda R. Gray was born March 31, 1921, in Butterfield, Mo., and passed away on Feb. 3, 2013, in Springfield, Mo.
She graduated from Butterfield High School. After finishing one year of college at SMS at age 17, she passed the County Teachers Exam and taught at several rural schools in Barry County first at Cormus Grove, and then Clio and Cross Hollows. She taught in the winter and attended college in the summer. Then she taught school in Butterfield and Cassville. Her next job was elementary principal in Neosho, then as the coordinator of Elementary Education in Neosho.
She then moved to Springfield and was coordinator of elementary education, and later become director of elementary education in Springfield. Then she served as assistant superintendant for elementary education in Springfield, retiring in 1985. After retiring she taught in the education department at Drury College. Her teaching career spanned 44 years in the public system, and 15 years at Drury College for a total of 59 years. These are Wanda's accomplishments: B.S. in education- Southwest Missouri State University, M.Ed.- Missouri University, Ed.D. - University of Arkansas.
Of the following awards she received during her professional career, the one for which she is most proud of is the Wanda Gray Elementary School named in her honor in 1985. Delta Kappa Gamma International Scholarship, Southwest Missouri Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, Distinguished Service to Education Award, Outstanding Educator of the Year, Southwest Missouri District Teachers Association, International Reading Association, Outstanding Contributions to Reading, Listed in Who's Who in American Education, Pi Lambda Theta, University of Missouri, Kappa Delta Pi, University of Arkansas, Cum Laude, Southwest Missouri State University, Southwest Missouri for Gifted and Talented Leadership Award, Missouri State Legislature Recognition, Honorary Life Membership, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Master Teacher Award, Missouri State Teachers Association, Outstanding Administrator Award, CTA, Missouri State Teachers Association, Outstanding Administrative Leadership, Southwest Baptist University, Pioneer in Education Award, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Avenue in Springfield named Wanda Gray Avenue, 1st Star Catcher's Award from Springfield Public Schools, SMSU Outstanding Alumni Award, Drury College Outstanding Educator of the Year, Evening Classes, 100 Ozarkers Who Shaped Our Future, PBS, Channel 21, Hall of Fame and Dr. Wanda Gray Award for Outstanding Graduate in Elementary Teachers Certified Program at Drury University named in her Honor when she retired from Drury. She was a member of South Haven Baptist Church and a member of Delta Keppa Gamma.
Wanda was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Bertha Gray; and her sister, Wilma Gray.
She is survived by her sister, Colleen McBride and her husband J.D. McBride, Newtonia; her niece, Renee Lewis and her husband, Brian Lewis, Granby; her great niece, Breanna Lewis and great-nephew, Nathan Lewis, both from Granby.
Wanda will be missed by many friends and family.
Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, in Greenlawn Funeral Home South with burial following in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, in Butterfield.
Page 2 of 2 - Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Wanda Gray School.
Online condolences can be made at www.greenlawnfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Green Lawn Funeral Home, Springfield.