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Gail June Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, June 4, 1950 to Charles Penniman, Sr. and Leva Mae Penniman. Gail was number eleven of twelve children. After the death of her father, she moved to Los Angeles in 1956 with her mother, seven brothers, and four sisters. Her mother and younger siblings moved to Riverside, California, where she later graduated from Riverside Poly High School in 1968. Gail completed General Studies at Riverside Community and Los Angeles Community Colleges.
On September 25, 1971, she married Ray DuBoc Ali (formerly Ray Chester Rugley) in Riverside, California. From that bond she birthed Ray Lemarr Penniman in January 1973. She resided in Los Angeles and the surrounding area until 2011 when she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to live with her son, his wife, and grandchildren.
Gail professionally contributed years of service to First Interstate Bank, Security Pacific Bank, Union Bank, Alexander & Alexander, and Argonaut Insurance Company. She retired in 2011 after 15 years of service as Manager of Signatory Records Department at the Screen Actors Guild of America.
Gail was a loving mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend to many. Her bonds ran deep for her family and church. She had great affection for her son and his family. Gail and Ray shared a mother-son bond deep-rooted in love, respect, friendship, and admiration. She embraced and loved Ray’s wife, Cristy, affectionately endearing her as “my little girl.” Her grandchildren, Ray and Esaias, enjoyed quality time with “Granna” when she picked them up daily from school until they were of driving age. The many hours together and slumber parties led them to create the moniker—The G.R.E. (Granna, Ray, Esaias).
She was a member of University Church and Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles for many years. Prior to relocation to Arizona, she was a member of Mt. Rubidoux Seventh-day Adventist Church in Riverside, where many family members and friends attended. Her most recent membership was at Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Phoenix, Arizona where Ray and his family continue to serve.
She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Horace “Tony”, Charles Jr., Robert, Marquette, and Richard Penniman, nephews Anthony Harmison, Tony Penniman, Marquette Penniman Jr., and Caleb Taylor, and nieces Ayanna and Kamaria Taylor. To mourn her passing, she leaves a son, Ray Penniman, daughter-in-law Cristy, grandsons Ray II and Esaias, her remaining six siblings, sisters Elnora “Peggy” Connor,” Leva “Sylvia” Penniman, Artis “Elaine” Harmison, Freka “Peaches” Merrell, brothers Walter “Bobby” and Peyton Penniman, and a host of nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.