YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Laura “Gram” Whatley Jones, 77 of 257 Carlton Avenue, Youngstown departed this life Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 12:58 p.m. at her residence, following complications from an extended illness.

She was born September 18, 1945 in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Albert and Lillie Margia Caffie Whatley, Sr. 

Laura was employed with General Motors B.O.C. Lordstown Division for 28 years as an assembler, before retiring in 2001. She also worked for Sheet & Tube Steel Corporation, Easter Seals, Soulville Record Shop and Lum’s Restaurant.

She was a 1964 graduate of East High School and attended Choffin Career Technical Center. Laura was known for her speed, racing the neighborhood boys and beating them.

She was a member of the Gospel Temple Baptist Church, UAW Women’s Committee, bowled for the UAW Rollettes in the Winter and Summer leagues and tournaments.

She enjoyed writing poetry, baking, playing cards, drawing, singing, dancing, music and was an avid Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys”, Cincinnati Bengals and Golden State Warriors fan and her favorite players were Steph Curry and Isaiah Zeke Thomas.

She leaves to mourn one son, Harold Eugene Whatley of Youngstown; one daughter, Ms. Carla Whatley-Watkins of Knoxville, Tennessee; two brothers, Albert Whatley, Jr. and Henry Lee “Penny” Whatley, both of Youngstown; one sister, Ms. Jessie M. Ford of Youngstown; seven grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; six sisters, Ms. Lillie Mary Johnson, Ms. Alberta Johnson, Mrs. Verna Foster, Ms. Bertha McClendon, Ms. Elizabeth Foster and Mrs. Ernestine Morgan; two brothers, Johnny Whatley and James “Bubba” Heath, Jr. and one granddaughter, Ms. Lelia Chanel Whatley.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 12:00 Noon, with calling hours from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Gospel Temple Baptist Church. Masks are required.

Burial will take place at Belmont Park Cemetery. 

Arrangements of comfort were handled by the Sterling-McCullough Williams Youngstown Funeral Home.

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A television tribute will air Sunday, March 5 at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on WKBN and 7:58 p.m. on FOX. Video will be posted here the day of airing.