At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Van Andel Institute (Attn: Development)
333 Bostwick Ave
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
To be used for cancer research
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Those who find the goodness in the simplicity of life experience fuller lives. Gay Nell Moody was one such person. She appreciated the value of hard work, cared greatly for her family's needs, and always made the best of her situation. She was a loving mother and a cherished grandmother and friend to many. We will never forget her place in our lives.
Gay began her life during an exciting time in history. The 1930's was a decade in which Americans marveled at the abilities of airplane pilots; Howard Hughes broke the transcontinental flight speed when he traveled from Los Angeles to Newark in under seven and a half hours! Though he was breaking records, another respectable pilot by the name of Amelia Earhart completely disappeared while in flight - a trace never to be found of her or her plane. San Francisco celebrated the completion of the Golden Gate suspension bridge, and in Chicago, the very first blood bank opened - revolutionizing medicine. As if all of this was not enough, 1937 brought even more excitement! George and Grace (Haley) Busbee were preparing to meet their precious baby in Kansas, Alabama. On June 12th, Gay Nell was welcomed into the world.
Gay Nell, as she was often called as a young girl, experienced a good childhood growing up in a coal mine town. She soon helped her parents welcome a little brother named Wayne. They grew up with lots of their family around since many members lived in Haley Hollow. They enjoyed the company of aunts and uncles and lots of cousins who always provided the much welcomed extra playmates in their lives. Her parents instilled a strong religious foundation for the family, as they regularly went to church. For her academics, Gay attended a one room schoolhouse up through the 10th grade. At the tender age of 16, Gay left school to find work. Her family had some connections in Michigan, so Gay courageously left her home for the city of Grand Rapids. Right around this time, her parents were anticipating the birth of their third baby.
Gay was able to find employment and saved up enough money within a year to finally send for her family to join her in Michigan. She worked for Knape and Vogt among others. Gay spent a lot of time with her new little sister, Nancy. In fact, she was often mistaken as Nancy's mother - this was not strange since she was 16 years older.
As time passed and Gay matured, her heart was open to love. Through mutual friends, who all had connections to the south, Gay was introduced to Don Moody. Their courtship lasted for some time before the couple decided to wed. They celebrated their marriage in the early 60's. Together they welcomed three children; Sue, Tammy, and Mike. With a family of five, their home was a busy place.
Gay was an exceptional mother, and her household ran smoothly with an old southern-like charm. Her children were always her first priority. They came to expect a hot breakfast every morning and a delicious dinner including meat, potatoes, and vegetables every evening. Her culinary skills often included a touch of southern flair. Gay was a meticulous housekeeper, and their home was always clean and orderly with keen decoration. She was known to complete the chores of cleaning walls and dusting on a regular schedule. In her discipline of the kids, she was quite strict (especially with her girls), and her high expectations were constant. Her children felt that disappointing her was punishment enough. All in all, she loved and cared for her children deeply.
The Moody family spent many years at a home on 3rd Street located on the city's Northwest Side. Gay maintained a big garden which produced plenty of produce to keep the family busy preserving the harvest with hours of canning. Her yard and her flower garden offered her much joy and serenity. When the family needed a little time away from home, they undertook the adventure of camping on the Grand River near Lowell on the weekends. As the children grew older, they enjoyed camping at Big Bend Park which Gay much preferred.
Always a hard worker, Gay did take some time off from earning when her family was younger; however, she did return to the workforce eventually. She was quite frugal with her money but would spend if she felt it was worth it. Sometimes she worked two jobs at one time. For many years, she worked as a stockroom coordinator at Clark Equipment. Following that position, she spent over 20 years working for CL Frost always doing efficient and quality work. Working provided Gay with an opportunity to be social, make good friends, and feel productive. Remarkably, she stopped working only 3 years ago!
Though she did enjoy working, Gay did reserve some time for other activities. Magazines captured her attention and going to garage sales always proved to turn up an important collectible or relic. She had several collections of plates and teacups, animal figurines, angels and milk glasses which have been left behind as artifacts of her love. If all else failed to entertain, she loved to watch cooking and detective shows on television. Throughout her lifetime, Gay also adopted many pets. She liked the company of a family dog, and many of the neighborhood cats knew they could count on her for a meal. For her spiritual needs, she attended church when she was able. Later, she watched church services on television every morning. Gay also went on a few memorable trips with her children, and one more recently was spent in Dollywood. She loved the dinner shows and the beauty of the mountains.
As her children grew up and moved on with adult lives of their own, Gay looked forward to becoming a grandmother. She was blessed with the gift of several grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She spent as much time with each of them as she could and adored every moment. She was like a second mother to many of her grandchildren and even to some of the neighborhood children. The kids would always look forward to her Easter Egg Hunts as well as her thoughtful birthday celebrations. Her Sunday evening meals were also enjoyed by anyone who wanted to share in good company and food, as everybody was invited.
Gay was not one to initiate lots of conversation with strangers, but she opened up with her friends and family. She had a great sense of humor and was always ready with a warm smile. We will miss her easy way of listening without judgment and the way she always made her family feel like she was there for them. After 80 years in this lifetime, Gay passed away on August 17, 2017. We will look to one another to find peace in our sorrow, but we will carry her memory close to our hearts. Gay Nell Moody will be dearly missed.
Gay Nell Moody, age 80 of Grand Rapids, passed away August 17, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband Don. Gay is survived by her children Sue & Dan Phillips, Tammy Wielinga, Mike Moody; several grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great grandchildren; brother, Wayne (Sue) Busbee; sister, Nancy Beardsley and several nieces and nephews. The service to celebrate Gay's life will be held on Monday, August 21 at 7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends may visit with her family from 6 PM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to the Van Andel Institute (for cancer research) are appreciated. To read more about Gay's life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com