Mrs. Johnnie Mae Browner Collins Gray was born on February 16, 1922, and departed this life at her home on December 10, 2019. Our mother was the eldest of three daughters. She was born to the late Stephen and Cleo Morrison Browner in Toccoa, Georgia.
As a young child her family moved to Statesville, North Carolina where they lived and worked on a large dairy farm. After living in Statesville for a number of years, the family moved to Greenville, South Carolina. Mrs. Gray was blessed with a long and wonderful life of 97 years.
She attended the public schools of Greenville County and was a graduate of Fuller Normal School in Greenville. The highest level at that time was the eleventh grade. Mrs. Gray was a former member of Bruton Temple Baptist Church where she served as church clerk and held various positions. She was also a former member of Evangelistic Temple, serving in many capacities including being one of the mothers of the church. She was currently a member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church until her health declined. She was a faithful member, active in the Senior Ministry and the Senior Women’s Sunday School Class.
Our mother was a devout Christian and a woman of faith. Visitors to her home often found her singing praises to God. She was employed as a domestic worker in the private sector for years and also worked for several businesses.
Mrs. Gray was also dedicated and committed in caring for her family. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo Collins, Sr., her second husband, Cornell Alfred Gray; sons, Leo Collins, Jr., Stephen Collins, John Lee Collins; sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Robert Thomas of Cleveland, OH; and a son-in-law, Benny J. Harris.
She leaves to cherish precious memories two daughters, Rose C. Harris and Linda L. Collins, both of Greenville, SC; two sons, Charles E. Collins of Greenville, SC, and Leroy Collins of Atlanta, GA; one sister, Lois Fields of Columbus, OH; granddaughters, Nivia Sharrise Collins of North Charleston, SC, and Sandra Renee Collins; grandsons, Darrell Sims of Atlanta, GA, Derold Owens of Greenville, SC, and Stephen Anthony Collins; and a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives and friends.