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Obituary: Sandy Gray

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Sandy Gray started her heavenly journey June 13, 2024, at her home on the Elk River in Mo., and her new home is expected to light up with smiles and laughter as she settles there. The loving mother of three sons and four grandchildren, she fought an eight-year battle with breast cancer. Sandra Lynn Phillips was born in Hope, Ark., March 10, 1961, as the sixth of seven children of the late Ules Cone Phillips and late Nannie Jo Phillips of Mineral Springs, Ark. From an early age, she was a giggling and happy sibling with her four sisters and two brothers. Except there were no smiles from Sandy when English peas were on the family meal menu. She refused to eat peas of any kind. There was usually a stand-off with her dad about this. Sandy went on to attend Mineral Springs School and graduated from high school there in 1979. 

Soon after, she started her career with Walmart at their store in Nashville, Ark.  She later was employed at Walmart Stores in Texarkana, Ark., and in Little Rock, Ark. From there, she was selected for Walmart’s new-store-opening team operating out of Deland, Fla. On Oct. 13, 1989, she married her first husband, Leland “Lee” Roy Gray, in Mineral Springs. In 1990, the couple moved to Paris, Ark., and Lee Gray continued his Walmart career as a store manager. Later, Sandy changed careers and became a licensed pharmacy technician working in the Fort Smith-Van Buren area. She was still an active pharmacy tech until cancer disabled her.

Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, and she leaves three sons and their families as part of her legacy, Cody Shane Gray and Aden Trimble of Conway, Ark.; Zachery Gray and Sophie Gray of Syracuse, Utah; and Evan Gray and Tori Forst of Paris, Ark. Surviving grandchildren are Waylon and Ryker Gray and Scarlett and Ridge Gray. Sandy counted stepdaughter, Jessica Bell and her partner Amber Forst, as her special girls. Her ex-husband, Lee Gray, also of Paris, and the father of her children, is also a survivor. Sandy’s surviving spouse is Drew Daniel of Pineville, Mo. 

Left to cherish her memory are four sisters and two brothers, Anna Jackson of Conway, Ark.; Pam Andrews of Sherwood, Ark.; Deborah Akin of DeQueen, Ark.; Kim Allison of North Little Rock, Ark.; Randy Phillips of Nashville, Ark., and Tom Phillips of Washington, Ark. Another loved one, who will remember her, is life-long friend, Jamie Faulkner of Pleasant Hill, Mo.

A memorial service is planned later. Sandy requested that her ashes be spread at her favorite beach in Florida and at the Elk River near her home in Pineville. Our closing Bible verse is from Micah 6:8: “…to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”