Jean Elizabeth Koronka Gray, 98, of Bryan, Texas, gracefully departed this earthly realm on July 26, 2023, to embark on her spiritual journey. Born on May 18, 1925, in Wimbledon Surrey, England, Jean was the cherished daughter of Stanley and Elizabeth Aukland of Warrington, England.
Imbued with spirituality as a guiding light, Jean recognized the transformative power of education. Nurtured by her surroundings, she completed her formative years with utmost care and diligently pursued higher knowledge at the People’s College of England. Through Jean’s journey of illumination, she became a beacon of wisdom for those fortunate enough to meet her.
Throughout her time with us, Jean humbly honored the teachings of humility, gratitude, and profound respect for all of creation. From an early age, Jean had a love for performing arts and shared her gifts with this world. At age 14, she toured all over England as a ballet and tap performer for a British Dance Company allowing others to enjoy entertainment. She was blessed with a God given singing voice as well and would perform in theaters throughout England. She exemplified devotion and selflessness, especially when she worked to be of service of righteousness during WWII.
In her time of service to her country, Jean meticulously provided her expertise in wiring the detonators and placing them into the bombs for the British Government. Her unwavering dedication and commitment to detail paved the way for her subsequent role at Burtonwood Air Depot, where she undertook the sacred duty of safeguarding invaluable blueprints for the American and British planes and bombers.
Jean met her husband, Louis C. Koronka, at a dance at the Burtonwood Airfield and said, “Man can he dance!” She fell in love with her blue-eyed Texas soldier and later married him in 1944. Their first son Louis S. Koronka was born in England after the war. Jean was full of adventure and never scared to take an opportunity to see the world. She made the difficult decision to leave her family in England and start anew in America. Being a warbride was an honor to Jean and she and her baby boy traveled across the Atlantic on the E.B. Alexander to join her husband in America. She had her second son, Robert, “Bobby Mike,” in Navasota, Texas where the family settled.
Jean was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Navasota, Texas for years. Her church was a salvation to her as she started her new life in a new country. She was an active choir member and was a soloist singing for many weddings, funerals and was honored to sing for the Governor of Texas. Jean enjoyed social activities which included being the President of the Music Study Club, attending bible studies, President of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and was a cub scout leader for her boys.
Several years later, she and her boys moved to Bryan, Texas where Jean worked in retail. She eventually began working at the Texas A&M Memorial Student Center and retired twice to end her 30 year career. Jean offered a smile to Aggies and met people from all over the world. She was honored to accompany the Texas A&M Singing Cadets during two of their European Tours. Jean’s love for her Aggies was evident. She never missed an opportunity to call her family to remind them to watch the Aggie games.
Even though she was proud of her British heritage, she was equally proud to become an American citizen voting in all elections. Jean was honored to become a member of the Eastern Star Society for many years. She was known for her baking skills and providing them to her friends and family. Some of her other passions included reading, traveling the world, but most of all being with her family and friends. Jean would often say to others, “ I am rich! I am rich in family love!”
She leaves behind cherished memories within the heirs of her beloved offspring: Louis S. Koronka and his wife Bernadette, and Robert Koronka, with his wife Gloria. Alongside her two boys, Jean’s legacy lives on through her affectionate five granddaughters: Amy Koronka and her fiancé Bruce Brinkman: Kristy Garza and her husband Jesse Garza, Tracy Turner and her late husband Matt Turner, Holly Mazzare and her husband Dr. Mark Mazzare, and Dr. Karen Tadlock and her husband Shane Tadlock. Furthermore, her iridescent light shines through her cherished twelve great grandchildren: Del Lange Jr, Ashley Osborn, Amber Lange, Shelby Welch, Kaylee Sparkman, Josh Turner, Luke Turner, Zoe Grace Mazzare, Brazos Mazzare, Brooks Mazzare, Parker Tadlock and Gabby Tadlock. Jean was very proud to announce to all that she had four beautiful great great grandchildren: Colton Junek, Conrad Osborn, Axel Shead, and Chloe Welch.
A life intricately woven, Jean Elizabeth Koronka Gray touched the lives of all those who were fortunate enough to know her, softly embracing them with the tender warmth of her giving heart. As she embarks on her spiritual pilgrimage, her soul reunites with those who preceded her into the divine realm. She joins her beloved parents, Stanley and Elizabeth Aukland and her beloved Auntie Bella who were her guiding stars. The boys take solace in knowing that their parents are finally reunited in heaven dancing their eternity together.
Jean was a giver and would give anything she had to anyone who was in need. Her ultimate gift to this world was to give her body to science to Texas A&M University Medical School. Her Celebration of Life will be held at 10 AM Saturday, August, 5th at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan.