Flossie Gray

Flossie Gray

Thursday, February 20th, 1930 Saturday, October 31st, 2020

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Obituary for Flossie Gray

Wichita, Kansas - Flossie Mae Smith…Pippin, Glaser, Gray was born February 20, 1930 ("When everything was dirty) to Robert Frederick and Oda Viola Smith. She was one of 8 children born in Fredonia, KS. As a young child her brother had a favorite walnut tree he liked to climb. He would tell her that "Girls can't climb trees". Well one day she did and picked a bucket full of walnuts. Then she dumped them down on his head as she told him " I told you I could climb". In her 80's, she had been cutting down tree limbs in her backyard and had placed the portable phone on the ground beside where she thought she might fall . We took her ladder away and she got so mad she threatened to go get another ladder. We brought it back but she didn't climb any more trees.
As a child, she went to a one room school. A boy in her class nicknamed her "Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail". Mom didn't like that at all. There was no indoor plumbing in the school and one day she followed him to the outhouse where she promptly hit him, shoved him into the outhouse and slammed the door. To make sure he got the point she locked him in with a big rock. That story always reminds me of the scene in A Christmas Story where Flick sticks his tongue to the frozen pole and Ralphie goes on into class like nothing happened. I can just see Mom's teacher looking around the classroom and wondering where her missing student was. Mom never did say if she confessed to the deed.
Flossie married Loren Elvis Pippin when she was 16. She graduated from high school and then went on to Emporia State Teachers College with 2 small children in tow. Her professor told her that she had to take on an extracurricular activity so she took up golf. She would carry my sister, Becky, on her back as I would walk beside her on the campus golf course. She would put in her tee and set the ball and I would promptly walk over and kick it off. She told her professor that she never got to complete the game who then felt sorry for her and gave her an "A" just for enduring golfing with 2 children. She managed to graduate from Emporia State College with her teaching degree. She would go on to get 2 masters and would teach English and grammar for 31 years mostly
at Haysville Jr. High. During her teaching career, she travelled to China one summer to teach English. While there she got to experience 100 year old eggs and tiny birds feet in her rice bowl along with The Great Wall of China. She was grateful for the experience but was so happy to get back to McDonald's hamburgers.
Becky, and I were around 7 and 8 when we were playing outside our house and got hungry. We decided to make some popcorn, but not inside the house with mom's help. We started a small fire beneath the dry shrubs just beside the front porch. Mom came out and found us before we could burn down the house. I don't remember getting a spanking and I am sure she made us popcorn.
I do remember one time when Becky and I did get a spanking. We had to be 12 & 13 and were outside playing Cops and Robbers with all the neighborhood kids. We weren't paying attention to the time, and when the street lights came on we didn't come home. Mom came and found us with a yardstick in her hand. On the way back to our house, every time we put our feet down, she would give us a swat with the yardstick. We didn't play outside after dark without permission again.
We also had pet hamsters as kids Cindy 1, Cindy 2 (because Cindy 1 died) and Sam. Becky and I thought Cindy 2 needed some sunlight so we moved her cage to the window before we went to school. When we got home, poor Cindy 2 had collapsed in the heat. As Becky and I were crying, my mother was trying to do CPR on the little hamster by breathing into her mouth with a straw all while doing chest compressions. This was my first venture into nursing. Sorry to say Cindy 2 did not survive the ordeal and got buried in the backyard with Cindy 1. We took really good care of Sam after that. He just died of old age.
As teenagers, Becky and I had a slumber party. That night we girls decided to have a séance. We went upstairs to get a candle and some snacks because every good séance needs potato chips and onion dip. Unbeknownst to us, mom had gone downstairs and opened up the window. We girls came back downstairs, lit the candle and turned off the lights. We couldn't decide on who to conjure up and finally came up with George Washington. As we are all sitting in a circle holding hands in the dark, we began to ask to speak to George Washington. After a short while, we hear this voice saying "I am the voice of George Washington". You have never heard such screaming from a bunch of hysterical girls. We all went running up the stairs to get out of the basement, Becky and I screaming for mom and the other girls following behind. We were all trying to get out the front door as mom was trying to get in. She was laughing so hard and after we stopped screaming and crying we all laughed too. It was the best slumber party ever.
Mom's life was not always an easy one and she became an alcoholic at an early age. I think it was her way of coping with having been abused as a child. She drank until the age of 60. Becky and I had to put her into the hospital under a court hold for alcoholic treatment. Mom became sober and shortly thereafter found Jesus. We not only got my mom and Granny back but we got a sister in Christ as well. She began sewing for various organizations and in 1978 was chosen as the KFDI Senior of the Year. There are two churches in Derby that have attics full of costumes and props my mother made. From choir robes for an Easter program to VBS props, mom could sew it all.
One year mom was in charge of getting Derby Friends Church's Thanksgiving turkeys. The grocery store had a buy one get one sale and mom got the bright idea to go into the store dressed differently each time because we needed 6 turkeys. She put on her track suit and jacket and went to get the first 2 turkeys. Out to the car she went. Smooth sailing. She took off the jacket and went back in to get 2 more turkeys and out to the car she went. 4 down 2 more to go. She unzipped the legs of the pantsuit and went in wearing short pants and put on a scarf. She carried out 2 more turkeys. The market never did question her because she went to different checkouts each time. Mom was not only a great actress but the church got the 6 turkeys we needed that year for our dinner.
Mom volunteered as a Derby Friends Church door greeter for many years and sewed hundreds of baby items for Tree House ministries. She made countless walker bags, sleeping bags for the homeless, and pillows to give to surrounding nursing homes. She took on the hostess role for our TWIGS bible study group. TWIGS stood for Together Working In God's Service and mom took it to heart. Her greatest treat was making snacks for us. One of her creations was known as Granny Goop. It consisted of cake, and anything else she could find to mix in along with lots of Cool Whip. Her family still loves this dessert.
In her later years she couldn't see to sew but at age 90 she still would tell me she could go and substitute teach. Flossie is survived by 1 daughter: Teresa (David) Duwe, 5 grandchildren: Tonya (Ryan) Dresher, Nathon Bodine, Branden (Tawney) Bodine, Justin Duwe, and Kim (Josh) Schmidt, and 9 great grandchildren: Colin, Cassidy, Caden, Cavin, Dillon, Evalyn, Lydia, James and Madelyn. Whether going to the "mini forest", sewing Wizard of Oz Halloween costumes, repairing endless pajama feet or giving hugs, Granny was always up for anything. All you had to do was call and her garage door would be up and she would be sitting at the kitchen table waiting for her next escapade. Living with Granny was a great adventure, not always fun but certainly educational. She taught us perseverance in the face of hardship, determination when someone says "you can't do something" creativity with whatever you have and a never give up attitude. We will always love you.
Memorial to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice Center, Inpatient Unit Via Christi Hospital, St. Francis 929 N. St. Francis, Wichita KS 67214

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, November 5th, 2020 | 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Smith Mortuary, Derby
    1415 North Rock Road
    Derby, Kansas
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Thursday, November 5th, 2020
    10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Second Visitation

    Friday, November 6th, 2020 | 9:00am - 5:00pm
    Smith Mortuary, Derby
    1415 North Rock Road
    Derby, Kansas
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Friday, November 6th, 2020
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Interment

    Freeport Cemetery
    215 Walnut
    Freeport, Kansas
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |

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Lori Young

Kim, so sorry to hear of the passing of your grandma. I have been thinking of you often and praying for you as well. Much love, Lori Young
Comment | Posted at 06:41pm via Condolence

Lori Young

Teresa and Dave - What a tribute to an awesome woman! Thanks for sharing so much of your and your mother's story. We are so sorry for your loss. Prayers, Chris and Lori Young
Comment | Posted at 06:40pm via Condolence

Harry Simpson

A wonderful memoriam to an incredible, determined and wonderful lady who, "did it her way" and will most certainly be dearly missed, and lovingly remembered. Godspeed Flossie.

My sympathies to Flossie's family, friends and loved ones.
Comment | Posted at 07:15pm via Condolence

Katherine Smith

I enjoyed reading the obituary on Flossie. She was a Aunt to my husband and I. We always look forward to her visits. One time she came to Fredonia, to spends some time with us and she wanted to go by, the one room school house, where she attended. We had to stop and she got out of the car and ran over to the old school, which was a pig house at the time. Any way she came back with a board off of, the old school. She took the board home and made a paddle out of it and wrote on it, the Board of Education. She hung it in her kitchen. She was a real crafty lady. We always enjoyed having her around, as we were always laughing and giggling and having fun. She was a joy to have around. I know Flossie, is in Heaven, with her daughter, Becky who passed on before, I can hear those two having a reunion and a whole lot of giggling and laughing, going on. We sure of a lot of good memories to hold on too. Until we meet again. Our Love and Prayers, to her family. We Love You All. Robert, Katherine Smith & Kim and Robbie Stockton.
Comment | Posted at 09:35pm via Condolence

Christy Gutzmer

So sorry to hear of your loss. Mrs. Gray was one of my favorite teachers at Haysville Junior High. She was one of a kind.
Christy (Sammons) Gutzmer
(Campus High School Class on 1985)
Comment | Posted at 02:28pm via Condolence

Why light a candle?

This is why you should light a candle..

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