Cleotha Bunn Gay, 97, active volunteer in Wilmington community

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WILMINGTON – Cleotha Bunn Gay, 97, of Wilmington, N.C., passed away on Aug. 7, 2016. Her heavenly days will continue in God’s presence.

Mrs. Gay was born Oct. 2, 1918, in Wilson County, N.C., to parents Lennie and Minnie Creech Bunn. Raised on a farm, she understood the generosity of life, including the love of family and God, the bounty of food the and the yield of hard work.

Together, with their young family, she and her husband, Leon R. Gay Sr., moved to Wilmington, N.C., in 1943 to support the war effort through Leon’s employment building Liberty ships at the Wilmington shipyard.

Cleotha Bunn Gay
                Cleotha Bunn Gay

Her employment and community service years included activity director positions at area city housing projects and nursing home facilities, as well as teaching quilting classes at Cape Fear Community College and New Hanover County Senior Center. She taught many people the arts of quilting, crochet, knitting, embroidery and crafts of many kinds.

She also joyfully volunteered at the NHRMC Hospitality House. Her recorded volunteer hours earned her the 20,000-hour pin. She continued to work and volunteer until the sweet age of 88.

Throughout her life, and well past retirement, Mrs. Gay loved to travel. Her passion for flowers touched, and will continue to touch, the lives of all those around her. She generously shared her knowledge, bouquets and plant cuttings with many. Even after retirement, she did her best to provide fresh flowers from her garden to the Hospitality House.

She was a long time member of Long Leaf Baptist Church and a lifetime member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. They are forever grateful for her presence in their lives.

She was preceded in death by her “dearest husband” of 51 years, Leon R. Gay Sr.

She is survived by her son, Leon R. Gay Jr. (Fay); two daughters, Margaret G. Dunn and Connie G. Casteen; eight grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and her brother, Lennie Bunn,Jr.

A funeral service, with the Rev. Clayton Rivenbark and Mr. Jim Coates officiating, will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at Long Leaf Baptist Church, 317 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington, N.C. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Interment will follow the funeral service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Flowers are welcome or memorial donations may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401, or to Long Leaf Baptist Church, 317 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington, NC 28412.

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