Earl Lee Happy GrayOctober 25, 2016
Earl Lee Gray "Happy" 64 of Asheville, NC, passed away on October 25, 2016. He was born in Spartanburg, SC on December 28, 1951 to the late Vera and Robert L. Gray. He came to Asheville at an early age where he attended Asheville City Schools. He then honorably served two tours of duty while in The United States Army.
Earl resided in Charlotte, NC for many years. Having earned a Black Belt in karate; he started a studio where he taught kids the craft of Karate. He later returned to Asheville where he earned the nickname "Happy", and became the designated keeper of the "Before I Die Wall" on Biltmore Avenue. Happy was well known in Asheville and the surrounding regions. Earl was a people person who never met a stranger. You could find him most days at the wall dispensing chalk and befriending those who passed by. Earl was an animated story teller. He never complained, but would often share words of encouragement and wisdom with a smile, and a "God Bless You". He was a member of The Highland Christian Church, with pastor Jason Garris.
Those left to cherish his memory include his sons; Earl (Valerie) Watts of Hendersonville, Anthony (Debbie) Gray of Asheville, Jimmie and Timothy Gray of Virginia, and his daughter Phyllis Dorn of Asheville.Earl is also survived by his long time companion, Ms. Freddie Lee Tarrant. Surviving also are his brothers; Marvin Gray of Asheville, and Walter (Joan) Gray of Forest City. Sisters; Beatrice (Harmon) Hudson, Annette G. McClure, and Valerie Sloan; all three of Asheville, and Tonya Parker of Dallas, Texas. One aunt, Fannie M. Williams of Spartanburg, SC. Earl also leaves behind several loving grandchildren and great grandchildren. Earl is preceded in death by his brother Michael.
Earl was dearly loved by his family, friends, and community. His passing saddens all who knew him.
A celebration of life with military honors will be held for Earl (Happy) on November 5, 2016. Visitation for friends and family will be from 1-2pm with funeral services starting at 2:00pm, at Nazareth Baptist Church, 146 Pine Street, Asheville, NC. Burial will be at a later date at The Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.
Pastor Jason Garris will be officiating.