Berlis Gray

Berlis  Gray

Berlis Gray affectionately known as “Berl” was born to the late James Lucian Gray Sr. and Mary Lee Gray on October 2, 1955 in Biscoe, Arkansas. His family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1957. Berl passed peacefully in his sleep and went home to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on April 23, 2024.

Berl accepted Christ as his personal Savior at an early age. He was baptized at Triedstone Missionary Baptist Church, under the late Rev. H. P. Horne. Berl was a faithful member of the Triedstone Flower Guild and the Helping Hands. He was a dedicated and dutiful Pastor Aide supporter. Berl was also a member of the Bell Tower Committee. He took pride in ringing the bell for fellow worshipper’s home-going services. Berl visited the War Room every Sunday to pray for others and was always one of the first people to arrive at Sunday School. Berl was recognized for his efforts in having the most visitors at Triedstone’s Family and Friends Day.

Berl attended Longwood Elementary, Kennard Junior High and East Technical High Schools. He was a member of the Kennard and East Tech Track Teams. Berl graduated from East Technical High School in 1973, Home of the Mighty East Tech Scarabs. After graduating from East Tech, Berl was employed as a Blue Printing Machine Operator at Osborn Engineering Company. He also worked in maintenance and painted for other companies. Berl later enrolled in and took art and other classes at Cuyahoga Community College.

Berl took pride in where he lived. He was called the Mayor of Longwood, because he knew everybody and everything that was going on in the neighborhood. Berl had everyone’s phone number and kept in touch with everyone he ever met; especially those who grew up with him down the way. Radio station WZAK – 93.1 FM, frequently gave Berl and everyone down in “Berlsville” a shout-out on the radio.

Berl was an avid sports fan; he loved and enjoyed watching and going to see the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians (Indians) play. On game day he was always dressed from head to toe in his Cleveland sports team gear. Berl had a passion for playing baseball. He played for Sutton’s Lounge, Bob Paradise, C&W Deli, Domino Lounge and the Longwood Sluggers. During his down time, Berl watched cowboys, westerns and movies from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Berl was considered the life of the party! He loved all types of music and was quick and smooth on his feet. Berl was in his true element when it came to dancing, especially hand dancing. He often said, “… he was living his best life and that he was living each day of his life to the fullest!” Berl enjoyed spending time with his family and friends; whether it was meeting at his mother’s house, celebrating a birthday, a holiday get-together, or a picnic or cookout at a park. Berl referred to everyone as “sis”, “brother”, “unc”, ‘auntie”, “nephew”, “momma”, etc. His friends called him “Brother Berl” and the youth loved and respected him so much that they called him “Uncle Berl”.

Although Berl was a jokester at times, he kept it real! Berl was genuine and very complimentary of others. He always said that he was on The Cleveland Goodfellas 216 Hospitality Committee and that his job was to make sure that everybody felt welcome at their events. Berl always greeted everyone with a smile, a big hug, a hearty handshake, his famous hand wave, and a big loud robust “Hey!”, followed by what’s up sis, brother, auntie, unc, nephew or whatever your name was. Some of Berl’s favorite sayings were … “Hey!”; “Everybody was asking about you”; “Errbody was there!”; “Thank you!”; “I appreciate you!”; “You know I had to speak my mind … but you know I still love you!”; “We need to Pray”; “God is Good”; and “We need to love one another and to be on one accord”.

Berl was preceded in death by his father, James L. Gray Sr. and two brothers Roy L. (JoAnn) and James L. Gray Jr. Berl leaves to mourn his two children Sherlita and Berlis D.; four Grandchildren, Faith, Emmanuel, Trinity Gray-Huff and Hezekiah; mother Mary Lee Gray; five sisters, Joyce E. Cotton (Lawrence – deceased), Mary E. Greene (Michael), Priscilla A. Mobley (Jerry L. Sr. – deceased), Andrea C., Germaine M.; one brother Rashid R. (Anita); aunts, uncles, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Berl had a beautiful spirit and unconditional love for everybody. Several years ago, Berl started sending his daily “Good Morning, have a wonderful day” inspirational text messages to his family and friends. Berl knew how God wanted us to fellowship and treat one another. He always said “I Love You”, as well as stated, “We need to tell people that we love them, each and every day and mean it, and keep in touch and check on people, not just at funerals!” As Berl would always say, “Stay Blessed and Be Blessed.”

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