Cover photo for Melanie Gray's Obituary
Melanie Gray Profile Photo
1944 Mel 2024

Melanie Gray

September 1, 1944 — January 6, 2024


Melanie “Mel” (Hoover) Gray, 79, of Jerome, Idaho, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 6, 2024. Mel was born to George and Maxine (Puffer) Hoover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During Mel’s high school years, the Hoover family moved from Pennsylvania to Florida where Melanie finished her education and graduated from Seacrest High School.

Mel met and married John Reeve and they became the proud parents of a daughter, Jacqueline. Mel and John subsequently divorced. Mel met and married Larry Gray and they remained together until Larry’s passing in 2005.

Mel spent her career working for The Trophy Shop in Boca Raton, Florida, first as an employee and ultimately as the owners after she and Larry purchased the business. After Larry’s passing, Mel made a bold move and sold her home, the business, and packed her things to move west to Idaho. While her move may have surprised her friends, Mel nonetheless flourished and grew to love Idaho as her home.

As many would attest, Mel was a hostess; in fact, one could argue that she was “the” hostess, with a kitchen full of snacks and drinks at the ready for anyone who happened to stop by to visit. She hosted many Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners, opening her home to family and friends who became family.

Many have said that Mel never met a stranger, a statement that became evident to everyone who met her the day she moved into her new home in Jerome. Those who were there that day were greeted by someone who instantly made them feel like old friends, with years of history behind them even after just a short time. Some were even elevated to “Trespasser” status, with keys exchanged and occasional forays into each other’s home for necessary supplies…or wine and ice cream.

Mel hosted many back patio parties, both in Idaho and Florida. Parties with the girls, celebrating birthdays or just because, were always memorable, full of laughter, storytelling, and of course, food and drinks. The parties on the patio also afforded Mel the opportunity to showcase her beautiful backyard and garden area. Mel had a green thumb. She loved her flower beds and filled them with beautiful flowers that she tended with loving care. She reveled in the challenge of taking a mostly-dead plant and bringing it back to life, often returning it to its original beauty and rivaling anything one could find at a nursery. While Mel certainly could have boasted about her skills in the garden, she never did; rather, she always showed humility and often shrugged off compliments at her skills and abilities.

Mel loved camping with Dave and Jackie in the mountains of Idaho. She enjoyed adventures – any adventures – and was always quick to say yes when an outing was planned (unless there were bears. She wasn’t a fan of bears.) While she so deeply enjoyed the outings, she also valued the peace and solitude the mountains offered, giving her a chance to read or quietly reflect on God’s beautiful landscapes.

After Mel moved to Idaho, she and her sisters, Gay and Anne, along with Jackie as their chauffeur, began their annual tradition of Sister Trips. The Hoover sisters enjoyed vacations in Canada and the United States, traveling to various resorts, hotels, condos, always with a pool, a deck of cards, and at times, an impromptu sing-along with the band.

In 2010, Mel’s long-time friend, Bill Pflueger, moved to Idaho and Mel and Bill began their journey together. They enjoyed spending their retirement traveling throughout the United States and Canada. One of the most memorable trips was their land tour and cruise in Alaska. While on their trip, they were able to see the majesty of Alaska from the air, flying high above in a seaplane. Whether by plane, train, car, or cruise ship, Mel and Bill’s retirement was filled with memories and experiences that will be cherished forever.

Mel is survived by her daughter, Jackie (Dave Peterson) Reeve; her loving partner, Bill Pflueger; her sisters, Gay (G. Edward, Jr.) Hartwell, of Landenberg, Pennsylvania; and Anne (Skip) Radick, of Big Sky, Montana; her nieces, nephews, bonus grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and friends too numerous to mention.

Mel saw the good in people. She was generous with her time, her resources, and her love. She listened to hear, would give guidance or advice when asked, but did so with gentleness and respect. She paid close attention to detail, learning the likes and dislikes of her family and friends. She began each day with prayer and devotionals, followed by a crossword (or three), a cup of coffee, and her favorite breakfast treat, little cinnamon donuts. She was immensely proud of her family and leaves behind many beautiful memories. Her legacy will live on in the memories she created with her friends and family, especially those who knew her as “The Mint Lady”, “Ta Da”, and “The Amazon Queen”. She will be missed.

The family plans to have a celebration of life at a later date.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Mel’s memorial webpage at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melanie Gray, please visit our flower store.


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