August 6, 2018, marked the 108th birthday of Johanna Gray, born in 1910. Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton helped her celebrate the day with a tiara, cake, ice cream, a stuffed bear, blanket and birthday card.
Johanna experiences some confusion, vision and hearing deficits but remembers “playing outside” as a child. “My mother used to come along and watch me” she recalls. Johanna said she misses her mother.
Johanna went to Holy Rosary Grammar School and Sacred Heart High School in Dayton. Johanna met her husband at school through a girlfriend – “same as everybody else!” They were married for 43 years and had one daughter, Joan, who is now a dedicated caregiver to her mother.
Johanna served for many years as a secretary for Mrs. Miriam Rosenthal, who left a lasting legacy in Dayton. Mrs. Rosenthal established the Ohio News Bureau, was a free-lance writer and community activist whose fundraising was instrumental to entertainment and cultural programs in Dayton. Today there is a brick in her honor in the community’s Walk of Fame and there are buildings named for her at Wright State University, Sinclair Community College and the University of Dayton.
Today, Johanna spends her time watching Fox News and joking with her daughter. When asked, “When you go to be with your husband will you still play tricks on Joan?” Johanna smiled and said “probably will.”