MORRISVILLE – Ethne Joan Bertram Gray was born in Boksburg, South Africa, on July 14, 1936. She passed peacefully at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, on Oct 2, age 87, after a brief stay related to her heart.
She was the second to youngest of five children. Her parents were Robert Mark Bertram and Grace Lillian Cross Bertram. Robert was a section chief in a South African gold mine. Ethne developed her active imagination, adventurous spirit, and deep spirituality by playing in the bushveldt surrounding their home. She shared many vivid stories about those childhood years, roaming free in the bush. Her mother was also a free spirit and nurtured this independent quality in Ethne.
Ethne became interested in drama as a young adult and participated in Shakespearean plays in Johannesburg. She also studied yoga at this time, which set her on a path to becoming an avid student of world religions and cultures. She was active in the anti-Apartheid movement and helped to found an interracial YWCA in Johannesburg, along with Winnie Mandela and other social activists.
In 1953 she met her husband-to-be, Clive Gray, a student at the University of Chicago, in a World Council of Churches interracial work camp in Roodepoort. In 1959 she obtained a degree in social work at the London School of Economics.
On July 4, 1959, Ethne and Clive married in London, then moved to Cambridge, Mass., where Clive studied for a Ph.D. in economics. During 1961-63 they were assigned by USAID to Lagos, Nigeria, where their first child, Auriel, was born. In 1964 they moved to Nairobi, Kenya, on assignment with the Ford Foundation. Their second and third children, Megan and Ethan, were born there.
On assignment with the Harvard Institute for International Development, the family next lived in Bogota, Colombia, then Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and finally Jakarta, Indonesia. Ethne helped local women in each country become income-earning through crafts.
She loved immersing herself in different cultures and connecting with the people of the countries where she lived and worked. After the family returned to the U.S. in 1976, Ethne studied art therapy at Goddard College, then began training as a Jungian analyst and joined the Jung Institute of Boston. She taught courses at the Jung Institute and Lesley College in the then new field of Jungian Art Therapy. She helped found and run the annual Iris art therapy conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and taught related summer courses at the University of New Mexico. Her students appreciated her uniquely spirited creativity.
Ethne also completed an M.A. in Theology at the Andover Newton Theological School and ran a private therapy practice for many years in Newton and Cambridge, Mass. She supported her clients’ individuation process using a combination of expressive art, dream-symbol work, and individual spiritual guidance. She formed deep relationships with clients, colleagues, and friends with whom she long remained in touch. She also shared regular correspondence with an extensive international community.
Ethne was social and charming and made people feel cared for. She was also thoughtful and generous and enjoyed gifting and sending cards to loved ones around the world. She loved to travel and regularly visited her South African family.
She leaves behind her older sister Grace Grant and younger brother Colin Bertram and their children; her own three children, Auriel Gray (Adrian Ivakhiv), Megan Gray Paterson-Brown (Willy Paterson-Brown), and Ethan Gray (Sue Teppo Gray); and three beloved grandsons, Diego Gray, Finlay Paterson-Brown, and Zoryan Ivakhiv-Gray.
Ethne was a lifelong learner, a passionate lover of life, and a generous friend, auntie, mother, and grandmother (Abba). Her lively, loving, colorful and often humorous presence will be deeply missed. She was energetic and feisty, still hoping to return to her South African homeland and soulscape during this last month of her life.
Her family is deeply grateful to the Craftsbury Community Care Center for their loving care during her last two summers and year when she could be closer to her Vermont family and spend quality time with them in Greensboro.
Ethne loved hats and scarves, singing and dancing, and she even sang show tunes with Zoryan from her hospital bed. She was a bright light and will continue to light up our hearts with fond memories.
Ethne’s life will be celebrated next summer at a date to be determined when her family returns to Greensboro. Please visit dgfunerals.com for detailed service information and to convey online condolences to the family.
Donations in her memory are invited to be sent to the Craftsbury Community Care Center (craftsburycommunitycarecenter.org) or Giftofthegivers.org (an international relief organization active in South Africa).