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EXCLUSIVE: UES heiress leaves $50G to fav nail salon tech

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/24/2015 Lisa L. Colangelo, Barbara Ross, Ginger Adams Otis

She lived a pampered life — and took care of those who did the pampering.

A wealthy Upper East Side heiress who died of natural causes bequeathed hefty sums to the important people in her life — hairdressers, a housekeeper, her doorman and even her nail tech.

Jenny Kim, 60, was sad to learn that her client of 12 years, Karen Parker Gray, 72, died of a heart attack on Aug. 24 in her fancy Sutton Place digs on E. 57th St.

But sadness turned to shock a week later when a handwritten letter arrived at Echo Spa and Nail, the shop where Kim works.

Karen Gray left her nail tech Jenny Kim (pictured), 60, $50,000 when she passed away. - Michael Graae/For New York Daily News © Provided by New York Daily News Karen Gray left her nail tech Jenny Kim (pictured), 60, $50,000 when she passed away. - Michael Graae/For New York Daily News Because of her “love and devotion,” Gray had left the married Korean immigrant $50,000, the letter said.

“I feel good that she remembered me like that — not about the money,” Kim said through a Korean translator.

She said Gray visited Echo Spa and Nail on First Ave. and E. 56th St. two times a week for 12 years — except for the stretches she spent at her other houses in Arizona and Connecticut.

Gray also asked for Kim and enjoyed hearing about the nail tech’s two children and three grandchildren.

“She enjoyed having a massage on her hands and legs. She liked it nice and quiet so she could relax,” said Kim. “She was a nice lady, very kind.”

Gray’s last visit was Aug. 7 — coincidentally, the date she wrote out by hand what would be her final will and testament.

The daughter of businessman Jack Parker, a vice president of General Electric and later director of Pan Am and the Smithsonian Institution, Gray had three stepchildren who she remembered in her will.

The 10-page document, which was unwitnessed and handwritten in a loopy scrawl, grants amounts of $200,000 to $300,000 to various family members and close friends — including one who inherited her house, “if he wants it.”

Gray wrote in a casual shorthand, often listing her benefactors by first name only — and giving gentle admonishments to various couples to “take a vacation to Scotland.”

Someone called Shaun got her Lexus “for all those midnight runs with the alarm going off.”

To Billy and George, “$50,000 each for beautiful hair and color,” Gray said.

Her generosity extended to stylist Elie Camaro at Frederic Fekkai on Fifth Ave.

“Forever grateful for his friendship, and perfect hair. $50,000 toward a fabulous car!” the generous Gray said.

She gave another $50,000 to “my favorite coat check woman at Fekkai.”

The salon manager confirmed that Camaro had been Gray’s stylist for more than four years.

An unnamed doorman was remembered with $50,000 and Gray’s housekeeper gifted with $10,000.

All told, Gray bestowed about $3 million, including gifts for the Heard Museum in Arizona, the Hoover Institution her dad once chaired and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “a huge source of pleasure for me,” she wrote.

The full extent of her fortune was not immediately known.


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