Edith Mae (VandenBos) Gray, 76, of Salem, South Dakota, passed peacefully at home surrounded by her family on August 21, 2020, after a 23-month battle with cancer.
She was born to John and Lena (Austhoff) VandenBos at the family home near Platte, SD, on April 30, 1944. Edith graduated from Platte High School and married Edward Gray on July 17, 1964. She and Ed lived in Burke, SD, for six years and welcomed sons Curt and Jack into the world. They moved to Salem, SD, for one year and Rapid City, SD, for two years where Tom, their third son, was born. Edith was a licensed amateur radio operator since 1969 and helped provide emergency communications during the Rapid City flood of June 1972. Her FCC amateur radio license was W0OE and she communicated with radio operators in every country of the world.
Her love of baking and cooking led her to work at the local Salem café, which she eventually bought and renamed Edith’s Café. Her pie was legendary. She enjoyed those daily activities tremendously and welcomed the many family and friends from her local community. She was active in her church, serving as the secretary for Salem United Church for nearly a decade and sharing her love of singing as a member of the choir.
Her family was her foundation. She, Ed and the boys spent many summer vacations camping, fishing and exploring. Edith never missed the annual VandenBos Family Camp to gather with all the parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, children, cousins, nieces and nephews. She rallied this summer to attend the 46th Annual VandenBos Family Camp to enjoy being with everyone one last time.
Edith led a life of adventure, traveling with Ed to see the world outside of Salem. She set foot in 41 countries spanning six continents, at times living for months in a place to get to know the local customs. In North America, she and Ed put many a mile on their RV trailer. They camped in all 50 of the United States plus the District of Columbia, every state in Mexico, and all the Canadian provinces. These travels gave her the opportunity to pursue her passion for fishing in various lakes, streams and rivers, including a once-in-a-lifetime experience of catching salmon in Alaska’s Kenai River. Edith and her sisters had many joyous trips of their own, traveling to many different places, spending time and reconnecting with each other.
At home, Edith tended a bountiful garden, with vegetables for the table and for canning. She created beautiful quilts and afghans which are cherished by the family and friends on the receiving end of her generosity. She loved to read, and loved to read the Bible most of all.
Edith is survived by Edward, her husband of 56 years; her brothers and sisters, Melvin VandenBos, Leroy VandenBos, Elaine Wynia, Delmer VandenBos and Deloris Vangenderen; sons Curt (Shellie) of Peoria, AZ, Jack of Rapid City, SD, and Tom of Tempe, AZ; grandchildren Kayla (Luis) of Mesa, AZ, Kelsie (Alex) of Peoria, AZ, and Gunner of Rapid City, SD. Edith was preceded in death by her mother, Lena VandenBos; father, John VandenBos; brother, Wilbert VandenBos and sister Marlene Wibenga.
Services will be held Wednesday, August 26, at 10:30 a.m. at Unite Church at 432 N. Main in Salem and will also be livestreamed on kinzleyfh.com. Visitation will be held Tuesday, August 25, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Kinzley Funeral Home. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Unite Church.