I’m sure Addie was close by during those early Gray Reunions in Bairdford Park, West Deer Township. There were fifty-some annual clan meetings before the older cousins died off and the picnics were scaled back. As a youngster I certainly didn’t know her or much care how the Grays were structured, and as a teenager I was off playing softball with cousins my own age right after the meal. Then I moved away from Gray family territory, got married, and had kids of my own. Our family also matured and moved even farther away. Only in the past few years have I rejoined the annual get-together and tried to learn my connection to our Gray ancestors . I’ve also tried to strengthen the bonds through this family website. Only over the past several years did I get to know dear “Addie” Hagen and her branch of the Robert and Annie Norris Gray family. The later, smaller reunions were eventually moved to Addie’s younger cousin, Ella Mae Grubbs’ (1920-2015) home nearby. You can read more about Addie and Ella Mae’s warm relationship in “A Letter from a Gray Family Matriarch on Preserving History.” After Addie moved to be with her sons in Florida, we talked by telephone. As did Ella Mae, she too expressed her gratitude to me that someone was recording and preserving our history and genealogy. They both made me feel very special, that my work would live on after me. I still can’t believe that Addie lived independently past the century mark, but her legacy will certainly live forever through her descendants and Gray relatives. Cousin Janet Flora, who has graciously organized and hosted the most recent reunions, actually attended Addie’s 100th birthday party in Sarasota and was able to share that experience at last year’s picnic electronically. You can read about that and more in Janet’s report on “The 2018 Gray Family/Clan Reunion.” I for one am surely going to miss Addie and our evening conversations about everything Gray. Perhaps we’ll discover more hidden family documents and stories from Addie in the future, and we’ll certainly make them available to the rest of the family right here at this site. But for now, here’s her parting words, her obituary through her final caretakers, the Toale Brothers Funeral Chapel in Sarasota:
Adah Addie D. (Kellar) Hagen, born on March 20, 1918 in Bakerstown, Pennsylvania, to the late Janet Gray Kellar and the late Howard J. Kellar, passed away at age 100 on January 29, 2019 in Sarasota, Florida. Adah was married to the late Lewis T. Hagen. She was preceded in death by her sister, Roberta Welch. Adah is survived by her sons, Robert L. Hagen (Mary Ellen) and Ronald H. Hagen; sister, Janet Hull; and grandchildren, Kimberly Houchin (Tommy), Scott Hagen (Ashley), Kelly Badgett (Cliff), and Dane Hagen and 6 great grandchildren.
Adah (aka Addie/ Momma Hagen) possessed a lifelong thirst for knowledge, along with a never-ending curiosity about how things worked and why things happened. She never lost her lust for learning even after her hearing and sight failed her. Needless to say, she was a woman with multiple passions and many interests including Messianic Jews and MADD. She saved virtually every greeting card she ever received throughout her one hundred-plus years of life. Frequently she would spend her evenings re-reading her collection of cards, which she called “visiting with old friends,” bringing back cherished memories of all the people from her past whom she loved and out-lived. Addie truly enjoyed meeting people and making new friends. She always made a special effort to meet, greet, and make welcome new residents at the Desoto Beach Club. She took part in most of the extracurricular activities offered there, including Bible studies, chimes, crafts, and guest speakers who covered multitudes of interesting topics to feed her limitless curiosity as previously mentioned.
However, Addie’s greatest passion in life was her loving family, consisting of her sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, all of whom she prayed for daily, first thing every morning and last thing every night. The family invites in lieu of flowers, donations in ADAH’s name to Chosen People Ministries, Disabled American Veterans, or First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton.
Friends and family can pay their respects at the visitation on Monday, February 4, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Following that, there will be a funeral service, officiated by the Rev. Vic Kane from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. The funeral home will be Toale Brothers Colonial Chapel – Sarasota, 40 N. Orange Ave, Sarasota, (941) 955-4171.
Finally, the funeral directors have made available an electronic guest book for all to read and express their sentiments.
Last revised 2/25/19