Joni Gray, age 75, passed away on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA of an aortic aneurism. She was surrounded by her family and closest friends. Joni was born July 18, 1942 in Orcutt, CA to Joe and Norma Gray. Joni attended Orcutt Elementary School, Santa Maria High School, Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She earned her BA in Social Science and an MA in Education. She taught at Santa Maria High School and Allen Hancock College, and in 1982 she began to study the law. Under the sponsorship of Judge Barbara Beck she took and passed the California Bar. Joni began the practice of law in 1987. In 1998 Joni was appointed to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. She was re-elected twice and represented the 4th District for 14 years. She then returned to practicing law and opened her own office in Orcutt, CA where she was specializing in Family Law and Wills, Estates and Trusts.
Joni was someone who consistently tried to find ways to better her community- in the realm of politics, law, education and athletics. She will be remembered as a courageous public servant and tireless supporter of the Santa Maria Valley. But she will also be remembered as a wonderful mother, wife, aunt, and friend. Joni had the ability to reach people in a deep and positive way. She truly lived her life to the fullest and was often heard saying “life is good”. She was a huge sports fan, and also enjoyed music, gardening, seeing movies, going to plays, and reading or listening to her books on tape. But her favorite activity was just simply spending time with family and friends.
Joni has impacted tremendously the lives of so many as a friend, teacher, attorney, mentor, advocate, and community leader. Her passion and laughter will be dearly missed. Joni is survived by her daughter Samantha Wood, husband George Wittenburg, stepsons Jason Brooks and Tim Wittenburg, sister Dot Hodges, niece Tammy Van Vleet and nephew Scott Giorgi.
A celebration of life ceremony for Joni will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 30th at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge, 1309 N. Broadway. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in her name to the organizations she was actively involved in and passionate about. Donations can be made to:
c/o Alicia Fails
Community Engagement Director
P.O. Box 2637
Orcutt, CA 93457
Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table
c/o Yvonne Biely, Treasurer
511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Suite 141
Santa Maria, CA 93455
To leave a condolence for the family visit www.dudleyhoffmanmortuary.com
Mortuary & Crematory