Nancy Ellyn Gray, nee Bender, born December 14, 1932, died on
the Ides of March, March 15, 2020 at the age of 87. Born in
Bremerton, WA, to Renus Lewis Bender and Helen Thomas Bender.
Pre-deceased by her husband, James David Gray (2014). Mother to
Leslie Jann Filler, Betsy Gifford (David) and Brian Filler.
Nana to Timothy Graves (Jennifer), Katie Goss (Danny), Margaret
Tracy (Brent), Patrick Filler and step-grandmother to Dave
Gifford. She is also survived by four great-grandchildren.
After giving one of the commencement addresses at her high
school in Bremerton, WA, she entered the University of
Washington at age 16. She graduated in 1953 with a B. A. in
English and soon after left for New York City with her long time
friend Verna MacLean.
Taylor Publishing hired her as an editorial assistant for her
first job in New York. She met her first husband on a blind
date in 1954. Their careers took them to Denver, CO where she
took a job as a journalist at Fairchild Publications.
The family then moved to Seattle where, in 1965, she completed
her M. A. in English at the University of Washington. She
taught college level English at Green River Community College
and Edmonds Community College. She was also a Vista volunteer,
National Regional Director for the nascent National Organization
for Women and a volunteer with the Kitsap County Council for
A long time lover of books she moved to England in 1976 and
began her years long apprenticeship learning the used book trade
with her mentor George. After leaving London in the late 1970's
she returned to Bremerton and opened Interim Books, an
antiquarian bookshop specializing in military and naval history
and early Pacific Northwest titles. She scoured thrift shops
for collectible books to sell at Interim and often enlisted her
husband and daughters to lug boxes of her finds up two flights
of stairs. She frequently traveled up and down the west coast,
from Vancouver, B. C. to San Diego, CA on her scouting missions.
At Interim, she met her second husband James. She accompanied
him to Scotland after a Navy posting. In 1999, they married in
San Francisco, CA.
She loved England and spent many summers taking courses at
Oxford University. An avid traveler she spent time in Canada,
the then Soviet Union, France, Spain and China among other
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