In the early morning of Thursday, May 9, 2019, Anita McCray Hogan succumbed to her brief, and very courageous battle with cancer with family and friends close by her side. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer, which needed an aggressive form of therapy. It all proved to be too much for her.
On November 17, 1958, Anita Gezell was born in Long Island New York to Eugene Thomas and Evelyn Davis McCray. As the youngest of six daughters, Anita quickly learned that in order to have her own identity, she would have to do things her own way. In her six decades of life, she did just that.
In her first decade of life, her family returned to Fort Valley from New York. She began her education Hunt Elementary School. At an early age, she was baptized at her family church with her sister, Avis and other friends at Trinity Baptist Church. She graduated from Peach County High School, started her studies with a scholarship to the University of Georgia, met and married the love of her life – Richard Thomas Hogan and together they welcomed their first son, Richard Hogan, II.
Anita followed a path of service in all aspects of her life. This path required faith and tenacity that she nurtured in herself and others. Her desire to live this life of exceptional strength carried over to marriage, family, study, work, and worship. Her energies were always being channeled towards the highest of goals, a path worth emulating. She was an incredible steward of the talents referred to in the parable of the 10 talents. She was given many talents, developed them and so was granted more. Her God-given gifts were many and she employed to help others along the way -- singing, cooking, she worked well at comforting people and being an empathetic listener, provide great solutions for clients and friends, provided a lot of wisdom to young people, including her own children, grandchildren, and mentees. She was a therapist all her life. She was an avid swimmer, a great writer, and a great sports coach for her sons and grandsons. She was an amazing caretaker for many. She was a leader and led by example. Anita was passionate about her family, friends, church, education, and service. She is a phenomenal woman.
Anita chose to put her formal education on hold as she and Bob worked hard together in the early years of their marriage to support their growing family. Bob had his career at the Norfolk Southern railroad. Anita first went to work for Geico and then spent the next 23 years as a technician at Brown and Williamson Corporation in Macon, GA. Anita was licensed and could handle a forklift truck with the best of them. Together, they made a loving home with a family that included two more sons, Timothy Jared and Jonathan McCray. The family loved spending time together, traveling – especially to Panama City, Myrtle Beach, and Jekyll Island and wherever there was water. Anita loved to swim, Bob loved fishing, and the boys grew up learning to swim and respect the water.
From 2005 to 2011, Anita led the Youth Ministry at Trinity. Seeing a problem with the youth, she said ”…they just need us to love them.” Along with an incredible team, she created, coordinated, and implemented a new youth program called JAMM (Jesus and Me Ministries). They wanted to be sure the youth had a safe place to have new experiences and to grow spiritually. JAMM benefitted from Anita’s love of the water, as they took many of their off-site meetings and retreats at Panama City and Jekyll Island.
Anita worked in many arenas -- with families, teaching parenting classes, and volunteering with Juvenile Justice. She worked and volunteered in agencies and on committees to prevent Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. Was it providence that of all the many talents, interests, and experiences she had in helping others, that the work that found her was in Hospice Care? In her work at Kindred Hospice, Anita supported many individuals and families as they made end-of-life decisions. Having made this journey with others, she was clear and decisive about her own desires. In the end, Anita knew what she wanted and instructed her husband and her family through her final journey here on earth.
Once their sons were in their own lives, Anita returned to complete her education – much as her mother had done. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Macon State University – making the Dean’s List and the Presidents List. With Bob as her constant companion, Anita did not stop there. She traveled for hours, while both were still working, to Valdosta State University where she earned her Master of Social Work degree. She gained additional credentialing as a Licensed Master/Medical Social Worker (LMSW) so she could perform the service her clients needed in the best possible ways, and to the best of her ability.
Anita was preceded in death by her father Eugene Thomas; sister, Luchrista Vanessa; sister-in-law, Cynthia Renee Dawson; brother-in-law, Larry Revear, and Bob’s maternal grandmother, who lived with them for some time, Winnie Bell Green (Grandma Green).
Anita was blessed to have an expansive extended family to share life and love. Here to carry on her memories and lessons her devoted husband of 42 years, Bob, three sons – Rick, TJ, and Mac, her Mother, Evelyn D. McCray, four sisters – Jacqueline Konan, Paulette/Paul Neely, Gail McCray, and Avis Revear. Her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Winifred & Darrel Williams; half-brothers Murad and Bryan; nephews, Eric/Tricia Konan and DJ and nieces – Maryum, Geneita, Alanna, her loving grandsons – Jalen, Jackson, and Jordan. Great-nieces and -nephews include Zakkiyah, Rashad, and Alaska. Loving Uncle Calvin/Connie (deceased) Davis and Aunts GlynnEva/Joe (deceased) McCrary, and Lula/Jessie (deceased) Smith; first cousins: Robin/Walter Phillips, Cynthia, and Cornita; Kirek/Karen Davis, Tanja, and Kiesha Davis; Joe/Avera McCrary and Michael/Renee McCrary; Venturi McCray and Travis/Deleava Smith Deborah/Neal Collins, Diane/Daryl Fort, and Wilborn, Jr/Greta, and many more extended family and friends.
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