Louise M. (Wallin) Gray, 99, of La Porte, passed away on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Brentwood at La Porte.
Louise was born in 1921 in North Judson, Indiana. Growing up on the family farm, she was a good student whose dream was to attend college. As a child, she loved music, dancing and going with Mom and Pop to dances where “Pop” played his concertina in the polka band. Instead of college, she stayed at home with Mom and Pop, Louis E. and Rose Ann (Klecka) Krulik, as well as her younger sis, Evelyn, to help with farm chores. By that time, her brother, Chuck, was an Army Paratrooper.
As a teenager, she met Larry S. Wallin, a handsome Norwegian, who also went to Saturday night dances. It was love at first sight and when Louise graduated from high school the two married. The couple lived in North Judson and Union Mills eventually moving to La Porte with their daughter, Linda. Larry was a Master Electrician and a builder with many skills. Louise first worked as a clerk typist at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant but her career in life was as a Legal Secretary until she was about 72. The Wallins were very active at Bethany Lutheran Church. Louise supported Linda in her stewardess career and loved taking a plane trip whenever possible.
In 1967, the love of her life, Larry, passed away. Soon after that, Linda and her family moved to Texas where Louise visited them often. A few years later, the family encouraged her to attend a “Parents without Partners” event just to have dinner and enjoy dance music. Frank E. Gray, a widower, also enjoyed music and loved to dance. The meeting was meant to happen. A year later, they married and Louise became mom to 4 teenage sons.
The Grays were active Bethany Lutheran Church members and enjoyed the Kouples Klub. Louise worked on the Stewardship Committee, enjoyed the Peanut Butter Bible Study, and the Rebecca Circle. She loved the annual “Taste of Bethany” when she would bake dozens of Kolache in honor of her Czech Heritage. Along the way, Louise had fun with her friends as a charter member of the Red Hat Society called “Les Chapeaux Rouge of La Porte”.
Frank passed away in 1998 from complications of a blood disorder. As a “pay-back” to the American Red Cross for all the blood Frank had received, Louise and a Red Cross representative organized blood drives every other month at Bethany Church. Louise worked tirelessly delivering announcements to the radio station, Herald-Argus paper, and to the bank for the corner marquis. She made dozens of tuna sandwiches and provided drinks for the donors.
At age 92, she could no longer continue her passion, even though she argued “yes, I can”. In her honor, The American Red Cross held the November 2013 drive. The H-A newspaper did a great article and photo of this long-time La Porte resident telling of the upcoming event, but mostly telling of Louise’s volunteering. The turnout was huge.
Louise is survived by her daughter, Linda (Tom, deceased) Hughes; grandson, Thomas Hughes, Jr.; great-grandchildren, Jason (Tylene) Hughes, Zoie (DR) Davenport, Wyatt Hughes, and Emma Hughes; great, great-grandchildren, Allison Hughes, Audrina and Olivia Davenport, and Julius Jay "JJ" Hughes; sister, Evelyn Pilar; stepdaughter-in-law, Carolyn Gray; stepsons, Lenny (Beth) Gray and Gary (Cheryl) Gray; stepgrandchildren, Natalie Gray-Sopterean, Alexis Gray, Nadine Barnes Coulter, and Stephanie Hoffman; as well as many nieces, nephew and cousins.
Louise was preceded in death by her parents; husbands; brother, Charles E. Krulik; and stepsons, Robbie and Steven Gray.
Cremation has taken place with Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center, La Porte. Due to possible weather, a graveside service will take place inside at Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2900 Monroe St., at 11 am, Wednesday, December 16, 2020 with Pastor Dennis Meyer officiating. Burial will follow at Carmel Cemetery. A Celebration of Life Service will be held later in the spring.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Red Cross of La Porte County, 113 Warren Road., Michigan City, IN 46360 or the American Cancer Society, 130 Red Coach Drive, Mishawaka, IN 46545.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family on www.cutlercares.com