Josephine Grace Gay, age 7, was from Newtown, Connecticut and had autism. She was one of the 20 children and 6 adults who died on December 14, 2012 at the Sandy Brook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Josephine Grace Gay is an Autism Light for the impact her brief life had on those who were blessed to know her and because a charitable fund in her memory will continue to help children with autism.
Josephine Grace Gay was survived by her parents Michele and Bob Gay and sisters, Sophia and Maria Gay. Her obituary said of her, "She lived seven years inspiring friends and family with her beautiful smile, loving heart, and playful spirit (Source)." An obituary for Josephine Grace Gay can be found on Legacy.com.
Josephine's parents Bob and Michele Gray wrote a letter about their daughter. This is part of it:
It will help us if others know what a special person she was and how she inspired everyone she met. Joey was autistic and severely apraxic. She could not speak, yet she touched the lives of so many around her: teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, all loved and cherished her. Joey was social and affectionate; she smiled, she loved hugs, and she even had a wonderful sense of humor. Her spirit was indomitable. She participated in rigorous therapy and treatment on a daily basis without complaint. She loved to play with her Barbie dolls, iPad, and computer, swim, swing, and be anywhere her sisters were. Josephine loved the color purple (Source).You may read the full text of the letter that Josephine's parents wrote about her death in an online article at the Framingham Patch called Newtown Family Creates Autism Fund in Memory of Daughter.
Funeral Services: A memorial service was held at St. Rose of Lima Church, Newtown, CT, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm on Friday, December, 21. A Mass of Christian Burial is Saturday, December 22 at 11:00am at St. Rose's Church.
Bob and Michele Gray have set up Joey's Fund in their daughters memory through the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in Framingham. Doug and Laurie Flutie were run the foundation were Autism Lights #86. The fund will be used to help families raising children with autism.
Here are the ways you may give to Joey's Fund.
Online: Visit www.dougflutiejrfoundation.org. On the donation page please select “in Memory of” and type “Joey’s Fund” in the box for “acknowledgement/address and comments”.
By Mail: Send checks to: The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism Specify “In Memory of Josephine Gay” on the check. Mailing address: The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism PO Box 767 Framingham, MA 01701
PBS provided the following silent tribute to the victims of the Sandy Brook shooting. The children are listed in alphabetical order and Josephine Grace Gay is the 4th child pictured in this presentation.
Josephine Grace Gay will be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll and also to the page of those with autism. Josephine Grace Gay also has a page on the Autism Rest blog. Bob and Michele Gray explained how they cope with such a tragic loss of a young child, "Although our family is devastated, we are deeply comforted in the knowledge that she is no longer scared or hurting and rests in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is through His sufficient grace that we are able to get through this (Source)."
As the autism community ponders the loss of this autistic child, may those of us left be inspired to be more dedicated, to be more faithful, and to be more diligent in being advocates and light for autism. Rest in peace Josephine.
Special Note: It is the policy of Autism Light not to include photos of individuals unless they are in the Public Domain or permission from the person or family can be obtained. At this time of tragic loss we have not sought out permission for a photo, so not to disturb the privacy of Josephine Grace Gay's family. If in the future an authorized representative would like to give permission for a photo of Josephine to appear with this respectful tribute, please email AutismLight@Gmail.com or leave information in the comments to this post. Thank You.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.