Martha Gray Decker, of Whiting, NJ, born January 14, 1947, was 72 when she died on November 6, 2019, at Hackensack Meridian Hospital in Brick, NJ, surrounded by her family, after a long illness of cancer. Known always as Mimi, she is survived by her daughters Barbara Ann Hawkins, of Whiting, and Tracy Lee Stoft (George), of Hewitt, NJ, her older brother Robert Y. Gray of River Vale, NJ, and sister Suzanne G. Kelley, of Guilford, CT. Mimi also leaves behind her two deeply beloved grandchildren, Sophie G. Stoft and George J. Stoft V, five nephews, and a niece. She was predeceased by her younger sister, Jennifer G. Gray, in 2011.
Brought up on Valley View Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ, Mimi was the daughter of the late Robert and Ethel Gray. After graduating from Ridgewood High School in 1964, she married Kenneth C. Hawkins in 1965. They lived in Wyckoff, where they raised their two daughters and also ran their business, Ridgewood Moving Service.
After divorcing in 1983 and relocating to the Jersey shore, Mimi worked at several restaurants as head waitress, notably at Who’s on Third, in Spring Lake. In 1992 she married Geoffrey R. Decker, also from Ridgewood, spending many happy years with him until he died in 2017.
Mimi will long be remembered as a warm, caring friend with a highly contagious laugh. She would ask people she came across their names—and remember them. One medical receptionist remarked that in her 28 years at work only Mimi had ever asked her name. Sports figured into her life, playing volleyball in an adult league at Willard School as well as covering third base on Esposito’s riotous softball team throughout the seventies at Ridgewood’s Veterans Field, occasionally sipping some “liquid courage” between innings. Singing backup to the band Eugene Thomas and the Discords was another favorite pursuit. An enthusiastic cook, Mimi gave wonderful parties, often after Espo’s team games. Her ongoing pastimes included Sudoku, crosswords, and cards—a veritable queen at Pounce. Mimi was dearly loved, and she will be profoundly missed by her family and by so many longtime friends.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, December 14, at 1 pm at the West Milford Presbyterian Church, 1452 Union Valley Road, in West Milford, NJ, followed by a celebratory repast. Her burial will be private.
An earlier remembrance will be held on Saturday evening, November 23, 5–10 pm, at Whiting Bar and Spirits (732-849-0701), 108 Lacey Road, Manchester Township, NJ, 08759.