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Mill C. Gray - Founder

Mill. C. Gray - Founder of Gray's Funeral Home

Gray's Funeral Home, founded in 1895, was the first funeral home owned and operated by an African American on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Mills Gray built the structure at 643 Randolph Avenue. In the back yard the building used for embalming and preparing the dead for burial still stands. Thomas L. Godwin, also of Cape Charles, supplied Gray with cement burial vaults.

Mills Gray died in 1934. Gray's Funeral Home was subsequently operated by his wife, Jenny, with the aid of her niece, Alston Joynes-Godwin, the wife of Thomas L. Godwin. Jenny Joynes Gray died in 1946, leaving the business to niece Alston Godwin. The funeral home was moved after the death of Jenny Gray to 625 Madison Avenue, with a second location at 618 Jefferson Avenue where the business continues in the hands of the Godwin family. Alston Godwin retired after over 80 years if service, leaving her son, Thomas G. Godwin, and his wife, Juanita Brickhouse-Godwin, in charge of this historic Eastern Shore institution.