Mrs. Emma Mae Newton-Grays “BB”

ema-newspaper-photo-001Mrs. Emma Mae Newton-Grays “BB” was born October 29, 1926 to the late Demetris Sanders and Anna Elnora Sanders. She attended school in the Mumford School District. Mrs. Grays confessed Christ, joined church and was baptized at an early age. She was a member of the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church where she sang in the choir, served on the mission Board and hospitality committee.She loved her church and was a faithful and devoted member.

In 1946 she met and married Zellie Newton Sr, and they had five children. Curtis James,  Ruby Faye, Shirley Ann, Lester Charles and Brenda Deloris.

Ms. Grays was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She was employed by many: Crestview Nursing ( Nurse), Beverly Braley Boutique ( Sales), United Sewing Factory –  (Supervisor), A & M Expand Food Nutritional Program ( Field Nutritional Advisor) and many more. Her most proud achievement was working for herself. She owned several businesses, as a  professional seamstress, she did custom sewing & wedding planning and owned ” BB” s Fashions Just for you” a gift shop, “BB”s Gift Shop” and a Daycare Nursery School,” BB”s Play House.

She was a member of the Academy of Millinery Design, Bethume Women’s Club, African American Museum Committee and Ed Wilson Class Reunion Committe.

She had a love for fashion and fashion design. Much of her sewing business was from custom design. In most cases her clients saw garments or outfits that they had seen in magazines or had drawn on paper and she was able to make that extract design from scratch, she made purses and hats way before it was popular to do. She made beautiful shawls, gloves, coats, women and men suits and could even cover shoes to match an outfit.

In 1998 she married Robert Lewis Grays of Bryan, Texas. They were happily married until her recent departure. They were a loving couple and enjoyed watching their favorite show WWE Wrestling.

Ms. Grays departed life on Monday December 26, 2016 peacefully at home. She was preceded in death by her parents, her late husband Zellie Newton Sr, two sons, Lester ” Mickey” Newton, and Zellie Newton Jr; and one sister Devempa Earl of Midland, Texas.

She leaves to cherish her memory her loving husband Robert L. Grays; twin brother, Emmit Lee Sanders ( Ora) of Los Angeles, CA; two sons & one foster son, Rev. Curtis J. Sanders Sr, of Bryan, Tx; Curtis J. Sanders Jr. ( Patience) of Dallas, TX; and James Thomas Evans ( Doris) of Houston, TX; three daughters and one foster daughter, Ruby Ellis of Houston, TX; Shirley Poole ( Billy) of Bryan, Tx; Brenda Newton-Thompson ( Larry) of Dallas, TX and Loreah Johnson ( Tracy) of Austin, TX; Ten grandchildren; Angela Dean, Miosha Sanders, and Shaun Sanders ( Jennifer) of Bryan, TX, Tameka Thomas of Ft. Worth, TX, Shulon Sanders, Neteiko Walker ( Steven, Billy ” BJ” Poole Jr, Christopher Ellis all of Houston, TX; Omann Jamaal Newton and Jacobie Sanders both of Dallas, Tx; 12 great grandchildren; 4 great- great grandchildren; four stepsons; Robert L. Grays Jr, Edward Grays, Joe N. Grays and Thomas Grays ( Felecia) of Bryan, TX; and two stepdaughters, Deborah Grays ( Anthony) of Bryan, Tx and Candis L. Grays of Houston, Tx; two Goddaughters, Lakeisha Milstead ( Jules) of Bryan, Tx and Rosalind Hall of College Station, Tx and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends.

Betty Robinson

January 4th, 2017



  1. Loreah Johnson says:

    Momma is whom I called you and Momma is who you were and will always be to me. You were a kiss from God when I was blessed to enter your life and you in mine. Thank you for loving me as if I was your own and making me to feel from that moment, I was. I will forever be thankful for all you have done for me, raising me to be a strong woman and just loving me. Momma, I will always Love you deeply and truly.

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Dearest Rio, (the name daddy had for you). Mom loved you dearly and it so clear the love also had for her. She considered you her own and made sure that we knew it. There is an enter strength that you possess if you were fortunate to be raised by mom. That strength comes from God and God alone. She loved all her children and raised us all with God strength.

  2. Robert C. Neblett says:

    Curtis, Faye, Shirley, Brenda & Buggy
    I was really happy when Brenda invited me to your mother’s 90th birthday celebration. I even brought my dad (Leonard) and my wife (Dellanise). . .we really enjoyed seeing everyone at the celebration, especially Ms. Emma.

    We were sad to hear of Ms. Emma’s passing. . .and she will be greatly missed.

    The good thing is that God allowed you all to have your mother around for a long time and because you all are believers, you will see your mother again.

    May God bless and keep you all as you go through the homegoing services for your dear sweet mother. . .is my prayer

    Robert C. Neblett
    BHS Class of 1975

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      We were so glad to see you at mom’s birthday celebration. We had so much fun and I can’t believe how good Mr Leonard looked. Mom was very happy that day and for that I’m so grateful because Lord knows she had some not so good days. Thank you for being there when we needed you. We will be forever grateful.

  3. Shenae Dilworth says:

    May the healing hands of Jesus and the Holy Spirit be with you now and forevermore. May you find peace in your heart during this transition within your life.
    My peace I give unto you. John 14:27

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Thank you cousin,
      As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from hence forth even forever. Thank you for your prayers.

  4. Dennis Mathewson says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. Recently I lost my dear mother, and found great comfort
    in the Holy Bible, like at Isaiah 25 verse 8 – ” The Sovereign Lord will swallow up death forever,
    and wipe away the tears from all faces.” Also at Revelation 21 verse 4, we find the promise of
    God to remove both pain and death. For more comfort I turn to the website at:
    (Search: Comfort)

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Thank you for referring us to the word of God for comfort. We are confident in the fact that God controls all things and therefore we find comfort in it. He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. When He had put forth all His own, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice. John 10:3,4 Thank you!

  5. Charlotte Brown Jones says:

    Thinking of you and your family in this time of grief
    You are in our prayers
    Curtis and Charlotte Jones

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Hi Charlotte,
      It’s been a long time. Thank you & Curtis for you prayers. Remembering from West 17th St to East Park… memories help sustain us and those memories in particular, sent the standard. We are so grateful for your thoughtfulness.

  6. Mary Ann Mooring says:

    Shirley, our deepest and sincere sympathies to you and your entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May God continue to Bless and Keep you is our prayer…
    Milton (66) & Mary Ann(68) Mooring

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Dear Ann and Milton,
      Anytime one takes time out their lives to comfort another is God’s work, for we all know that God is love. Thank you, for your thoughts and prayers. Trust me when I tell you that they went a long way.

  7. Grady Wiggins-Woodson: Nacogdoches says:

    Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother.

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Thank you for your condolences. We were grateful and blessed to have had our mother on this earth for 90 years. Though right now in God there is joy in our sorrow but, someday soon our sorrow will turn into joy!

  8. Phil Banks says:

    Emma was a wonderful lady who helped to raise me. She was a dear friend to our family and we were so lucky to have known her. The last time I saw her she said I was still her “baby” and she was right.

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Dearest Phil,
      I remember you and you were her baby. She loved Dr. & Mrs Banks, you & the family. Your family was very, very good to her and she considered you all her dear friends. Anything to do with the law she would say, “let me have Phillip take a look at it.” She trusted you and you were worthy of her trust until the end.

  9. Renee Yvette Sanders-Boyd says:

    Dearest cousins, although we are not there physically, know that we are mourning and feeling the loss of your Mom deeply. We send our deepest condolences and prayers of comfort at this difficult time. Aunt BB’s memory will be cherished in our hearts forever. We may be separated by distance, but our love for you guys is with you always. May God and his heavenly Angels (including our loved one who just acquired her wings) bring you peace. She is your newest Guardian Angel, a position that she has many decades of practice for. She has not left us, she has only transitioned to a higher state of consciousness, one that we all strive to acquire when our time comes. May love and light guide you as you comfort each other. Stand strong and united as family.

    Love Always,

    Renee, Jasmine, and Dante
    Torrance, CA

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Dearest Renee,
      I know that I don’t have to explain my mother’s character to you, because you being her twin brother’s daughter, you get it. I’m so glad that you came to Bryan for the Family Reunion and had a chance to visit with mom, you, Jasmine and Dante. She was so happy to see you because she could see a little of her brother in each of you. Thank you so much for your support. Your love shine through in every communication you send. We will continue to remain strong as family and we’re also here for you as Uncle Emmitt is the oldest remaining in the William’s family. You all are also in our prayers. Love you.

  10. Larry and Jennifer Groce says:

    Mrs.Emma’s always had a pleasant smile and she was dressed in beauty from the inside out!. May the love, precious memories and peace of God bless you now and always. Sincerely,

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comfort us at this time. Mom would love the comment that you made concerning her smile. She tried to let her light shine. Thank you for noticing that she was successful in doing so.

  11. ayanna says:

    I miss so much right now when my mother text me told me she pass away because that is play Aunt but she in A good place heaven

    • Brenda Newton Thompson says:

      Dearest Ayanna,
      May God’ s strength be with you at this time, knowing that God found mom worthy to take her home with Him. She was your Aunty indeed and she loved you.

  12. John Mays says:

    May God Bless the Newton-Gray family. We will continue to pray for you….John and Linda Mays

  13. Brenda Newton Thompson says:

    Dear Mays Family,
    Thank you for your blessings, for under blessings comes all good things. And not forgetting that your prayers are what’s holding us up. May God bless you and yours right back.

  14. Sending our deepest sympathy your way. Praying for you sincerely!

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