Norma was born on July 16, 1923, in St. Joseph, Missouri, to John and Mary Jane “Molly” (Spurlock) Elliott. She was the youngest of nine children. Her six sisters and two brothers all preceded her in death.
Norma led a life dedicated to serving God. At the age of 16, while living in Ava, Missouri, she began a ministry with Nola Stout. Together they traveled throughout the United States holding revivals, sharing their faith and leading others to Christ. Nola preached and they both sang while Norma played her guitar or the church piano. In their early years as evangelists, Norma and Nola traveled with Sister Bryant for three years before venturing out on their own and continuing the important work she taught them.
After 17 years on the road, Norma and Nola served as pastors to two churches in Dimmitt and Slaton, Texas. In the mid-1960s they moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where Norma worked as a bank account representative. They lived there for almost 15 years before Nola married their friend Floyd Kitchens in 1980.
In 1986 Norma married Earl Gray who had been smitten with her in grade school in Brushy Knob, Missouri. In fact, he was so taken with her that he named his daughter after her. Soon after their marriage, Norma and Earl moved back to Missouri and settled in Mountain Grove; eight years later they made their home in Cabool. They were married almost 20 years before Earl died in 2005.
In the years after Earl’s death, Norma’s nieces and Earl’s children helped her take care of her home and manage her health. In 2012 she agreed to move to Tucson, Arizona, where Earl’s children and their families live. They thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, caring, intelligent, and faithful woman who loved to sing, had a ready laugh and a wonderful sense of humor.
Norma is survived by her many family members and friends who love and miss her deeply.
Funeral services were held at Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home in Mountain Grove on Saturday, August 6, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Ronald Turner officiating. Song selections were “I’ll Meet You In The Morning” and “Beyond The Gates,” rendered by Rev. Ronald and Wilma Turner. Jon Gray, Bill Jenkins, Donald Gray, Jerry Oxley, Andy Broos, and Don Crandall served as pallbearers. She was interred with her husband, Earl Gray, at Hillcrest Cemetery in Mountain Grove.