Juanita Gray, 45, manager of packaging for The Sun

February 15, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Juanita Gray, a production manager for The Sun who was active in civic affairs, died Wednesday of an aneurysm at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Hamilton resident was 45.

Born Juanita Barnes in Baltimore, she was raised on Fenwick Avenue. She was a 1975 graduate of Lake Clifton High School and earned an associate's degree in business at Baltimore City Community College. She also studied at Loyola and Villa Julie colleges and was preparing to take the Senior Professional Human Resources Certification exam.

Mrs. Gray joined the newspaper in 1999 after working in the human resources department at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

She was manager of staff development and recruitment for the packaging department, whose employees assemble the news and advertising sections of the daily and Sunday papers and load them in trucks for distribution from the printing plant at Sun Park at Port Covington in South Baltimore.

"Juanita had a strong sense of community and a belief in the goodness of people." said Barbara Jones, a Sun circulation administrative manager. "She looked for the best in everyone, yet was always firm and fair. And she was respected and trusted by her co-workers."

"She was so vibrant, so energetic, so family-oriented," said her sister-in-law, Barbette Highsmith of Pikesville. "She was a forgiving, nonjudgmental person. There wasn't a soul she couldn't get along with. There was never a situation she couldn't resolve, civilly. She believed in settling things and moving on."

She was a member of the newspaper's Diversity Committee and involved in the leadership of the annual United Way of Central Maryland drive. She was co-captain of a team of volunteers in the newspaper's "Reading by 9" program that tutored at Arundel Elementary School in Cherry Hill.

Colleagues said she was in the initial stages of forming a service organization of African-American female professionals to provide scholarships and other assistance to the needy.

Services will be held after a wake that begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Vaughn C. Greene funeral home, 4905 York Road.

Survivors include her husband of 20 years, Lawrence Gray Jr., a Stella Maris Hospice building mechanic; a son, Christopher Gray, and two daughters, Farrell Carroll and Wenona Harding, all of Baltimore; a stepson, Lawrence Gray III, of Baltimore; three brothers, Douglass Barnes, Joseph Barnes and Frederick Barnes, all of Baltimore; a sister, Michelle B. Patterson of Baltimore; and seven grandchildren.

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