Mildred Lorraine Cuffee Gray of Ansonia, CT grew up in Springfield, MA before moving to New Haven, CT in 1963 with her husband William “Pete” Gray. The second youngest child of Frederick and Barbara Cuffee, Mildred attended Elias Brookings Elementary School and Classical Junior and Senior High and graduated from the Senior High in 1955. After graduation, Mildred jumped into work at a local cleaners and King’s Department Store. She met her husband Pete on a church picnic in 1965 and they married a year later. Mildred and Pete raised their family on Tilton Street in New Haven where she became a second mom to many of the kids on the street and block. She never turned a kid away.
Known as Millie, Mim, Mimboo, and Millieooch to family and close friends, she was the mother of two, Lisa D. Gray of Oakland, California and Steven F. Gray of Columbia, Maryland. Mildred loved children and before having her own, family and friends dubbed her the “Master Babysitter” and called on her to watch most of the young ones in her life. Mildred’s family belonged to Saint Simon’s Episcopal Church, which her father helped start, and she sang in the choir as a child and teenager. A lover of music, she could cut quite a rug and when the music rang out you could find her on the dance floor doing everything from The Stroll to the Electric Slide. She loved to play a good game and could be found in front of her television on most nights shouting out answers to the clues on Jeopardy and the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune.
She worked at Southern New England Telephone Company in Yellow Page sales for thirty-five years. One of her dreams was to teach like her big sister Vanya. After leaving the phone company, she pursued that dream and went into the classroom as a Teacher’s Aide and “Grandparent”. She supported teachers at Helene Grant and most recently Wexler-Grant where she worked in the Family Resource Center until last year.
Mildred joined Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church where she and Pete married in 1963. From that time she committed herself to her church home and family and over the years served on The Vestry, The Altar Guild, and many other committees and ministries. In keeping with her love of children, you could find her at the church diaper bank at least once a week until her death.
She leaves to celebrate and remember her William, her husband; her children, Lisa and Steven, grandchildren Chase and Synclaire and a host of nieces and nephews, family and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held Friday, December 6, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 111 Whalley Ave., New Haven. A Reflection Hour will be held at the church from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends make donations to the Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church Diaper Bank, a ministry near and dear to her heart. Please send donations to: Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, Mildred Gray Memorial Diaper Fund, 111 Whalley Ave., New Haven, CT 06511.