Obituary: Jan Gray

CHICAGO, IL (October 10, 2014) — If you were ever overwhelmed by the amount of posters, bulletins, information packets, appeals—anything printed on paper—from Covenant Offices, it was always Jan Gray who was overwhelmed first.

As production manager for Covenant Communications, she was the person given the task of making sure all of it was printed, collated, and mailed on time. (It wasn’t her fault when you were inundated with promotional material, but it was to her credit that you received it when needed.) She worked in the Covenant Offices print shop for nearly 35 years.

On Tuesday, Janice Kay Gray died after a two-year battle with cancer. She was 65. A service of inurnment will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, October 13, at North Park Covenant Church. A memorial service will be conducted at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, at the church with a reception to follow.

“Jan had a deep commitment to her work—to do whatever possible to meet often impossible deadlines,” says Jane Swanson-Nystrom, senior editor of The Covenant Companion, who worked with Jan for more than thirty years. “She rightly understood that her work was in service not only to Covenant Offices, but to the broader church, which she deeply loved.”

Jan was a longtime member of North Park Covenant Church. She served on multiple boards and ministered to the needs of individuals with a much-admired kindness and empathy.

In the Communications department, it was Jan who always made sure birthdays and accomplishments were celebrated.

Over the last two years, as she battled with cancer, Jan continued to inspire the people around her. She fought her illness with both courage and a joy for life.

Jan was born January 4, 1949, in Wakefield, Nebraska, one of five children born to Floyd and Marion (Wessman) Gray. She was baptized and confirmed in the Evangelical Covenant Church in Wakefield.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in education/library science from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, in 1971. From 1972 to 1974, she worked at the public library in Sioux City, Iowa. After spending a year as a short-term missionary for the Covenant in Quito, Ecuador, she returned to work at the library in 1975.

Jan moved to Chicago in 1976, when she spent a year studying at North Park Theological Seminary. Afterwards she worked at the Covenant Offices until 2013, starting out in the business office. After two years, she was put in charge of the print shop. In 1995, she earned a media specialist master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University.

Survivors include a sister, Gail; three brothers, Roger, Bradley, and Dale; and numerous friends. Memorials are to North Park Covenant Church and designated for children and youth ministries. Please note “Jan Gray memorial.” They may be sent to the church at 5250 N. Christiana Ave., Chicago, IL 60625.

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8 Comments

  1. Jan was a kind, dependable, and gracious woman. She often found a way to give me encouragement that “cut through the fluff” and left a lasting impact. Never one to be the center of attention, Jan would quietly help a friend in generous and profound ways, often anonymously. Peace to her memory.

  2. The words that come to mind when I think of Jan are consistent, dependable, and kind. Jan had a wonderful laugh and contagious smile. I am grieved to hear of her passing. She was a wonderful support for my family while on the mission field and beyond. Covenant Office will not be the same without her.

  3. Jan was a dear friend of our family, and her presence will be greatly missed. Peace to her memory
    Paul

  4. Jan was a friend of years to our family and it was also a privilege to be have been her pastor. Jan always showed up at the right time. And, her apartment was “home” to so many over the years. Professionally, she was immersed in printer’s ink. Spiritually, she was immersed in grace. Thanks be to God for this servant who loved Christ and Christ’s Church! Doug, Mary, Ryan and Linnea Johnson

  5. I have been friends with Jan for over 50 years. She was a great encourager and, no matter how long between the times we saw each other, our friendship picked up without
    missing a beat. I will miss her greatly, but I look forward to seeing her again when we
    meet at Jesus’ feet.

  6. I will always think of Jan in conjunction with my years as a student at Wayne State College. My wife and I started attending the church in Wakefield in 1970 and Jan was one of the first people to befriend us. We saw each other over many following years and while the talk may have been about the Covenant or North Park or Chicago, it was always about Wayne State College. Those were wonderful years for my wife and me and Jan was part of our happiness. May she rest in peace and rise up in joy.

  7. We first met Jan when we were returning to Ecuador after a stay in the U.S. She was a short-term missionary that year. We have kept in touch on and off over the years.
    She was a good worker and a good friend. She will be missed.

  8. I am so sad to hear this news. Jan was a gentle, gracious soul with a kind, calm spirit that well-suited her deadline-driven role. ln working with her on the Central Conference newsletter, inSpirit magazine and other projects, her professionalism and friendship smoothed many a bumpy road. She was an asset to our life together. I am grateful to have known her.

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