Helen Jane was born on June 20, 1925, to Dale M. Gray, Sr. and Helena “Lena” (Kotzman) Gray in Kansas City, Missouri. After Helen Jane graduated from Redemptorist High School in 1943, she graduated from Avila University in 1946 with a degree in Sociology. After graduation she started her first job with Travelers Aid at Union Station “under the clock” providing assistance toWWII service men returning from the war. She then worked for Catholic Charities of Kansas City/St. Joseph helping families adopt children. Her various talents returned her to Avila where became the Director of Admissions department. Many years later after intentionally staying home to support her husband and children, she worked at the Medjugorje Center, and continued her lifelong love of golf as a golf course marshal at two courses.
In 1962, Helen Jane met Robert “Bob” Irwin Wald at a Rockhurst University social club on the Country Club Plaza where they began a 55–year marriage. Helen Jane and Bob went on to have two children, Robert “Bob” Gray Wald (Susan) of Shawnee, KS, and their children Kate Elizabeth Wald and Harrison Robert Wald and Theodore “Ted” Lee Wald (Anna) and their children – Faris Irwin Wald, Ian Ryan Wald, and Alisha Riana Wald.
Helen Jane and Bob loved Saint Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. She was always helping with one ministry or another, creating the Picture Lady Program to teach school children about classical art, and Ann’s Angels, giving prayer cards to every first communicant. She was active in the Ladies of Charity, attending hundreds of funerals for many people she never met, was President of the Bishop Miege Booster Club, and President of Avila University’s Alumni Association in 2000. She received the Lifetime Board Member Alumni Award and the Alumni Service Award in 2010. Because of her lifelong service to Avila, she was awarded several major awards including their highest honor, the Avila Medal of Honor; which is an honor conferred by the president, and is presented only once per year to former students based on qualifications of character, service and loyalty. She received her 70 year pin from President Ron Slepitza at the 2018 Homecoming Reunion (see photo below).
Helen Jane made and kept alive countless relationships with so many of her fellow parishioners, several of whom continued to visit her at her most loved Villa St. Francis, her final home on earth. She was ultimately blessed to have received the Sacrament of the Sick, in full form with confession, communion and the Apostolic Pardon just the week prior to her passing, as well as receiving the Eucharist every day including hours before her last breath.
Helen Jane was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Dale M. Gray, Jr, and Eugene Gray. She is survived by her sons, daughters-in-law and her five loving grandchildren whom she deeply loved.
Services will be held at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church on December 30, 2022, at 10:00AM. The Funeral Mass livestream is https://stannpv.org/helen-
The funeral Mass will be followed by a Visitation in the Parish Hall and Inurnment the gravesite at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send your contributions to Avila University, a loving Catholic institution Helen Jane cherished in care of the Office of Advancement & Alumni Relations, 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145) with “Helen Jane (Gray) Wald, Class of 1946” in the memo line. Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.