On May 28, 2022 the Lord called his faithful servant, James A. Bray, home. He and his wife, Dorothy, had just returned home from Florida, after several months of declining health.
James was born January 26, 1939 in Amo, Indiana to Robert Wayne and Charlotte (Lottie) Belle (Jarvis) Bray. In 1957 he was graduated from Cutler High School and continued his quest for higher education as he attended Purdue University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He received a Master of Arts degree from Ball State University and earned a certificate of advanced study in economics from the University of Nebraska. He also completed some coursework for a doctorate in educational administration at Ball State University.
The son of educators, he began his teaching career at Carrol High School and Lewis Cass High School in Indiana. James then accepted an opportunity to become an instructor in the education department at The Defiance College in 1967. In 1976 he was promoted to Associate Professor and served on numerous college committees and held many leadership roles during his 37 years. He was faculty marshall, trustee fellow division chair, faculty chair, director of winter term, coordinator of the graduate program in education, and faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Throughout his career he was a strong student advocate. He related well to the students both in and out of the classroom and was always willing to offer guidance and assistance. In fact, it was not unusual to find DC students living with the Brays on their farm during holiday and summer breaks.
James and his young family enjoyed being stewards of the 55 acre farm on which they lived. There was always an array of animals on the farm including cattle, sheep, and chickens. Many a neighbor could see the family out in the fields bailing hay and working the land together. James and his children were also very active showing Suffolk sheep together in the B-Square 4-H club where he was an advisor. His influence was also shared as a youth leader at the Poplar Ridge Church of the Brethern and at Union Chapel Church of God. As a native of Central Indiana, James was an avid Indianapolis 500 fan, and from the time the children were young, they would travel to the race together for many years. In fact, he even purchased an old Indy car, created a dirt track around the farm fields, and the family would race each other at a moment’s notice! Each would try to set a new track record so their name would be displayed on the side of the barn.
He was just as passionate about being a Purdue alumnus! Seldom did anyone ever see him dressed in anything that didn’t include some type of Purdue apparel. James and Dorothy could be found in attendance at the Purdue Grand Prix where they would volunteer in many capacities. He definitely bled Black and Gold. Many knew of James’s passion of being an avid fisherman. Seldom, if ever, did a spring break from DC pass that he and his fishing cronies didn’t pack up and haul themselves off to Canada. In fact, he later would take Dorothy, the children, and grandchildren with him to his beloved northern cabins (shacks). Dorothy and James also enjoyed fishing in many areas along the White River. You could also find them traveling throughout the United States and Canada. They spent many a winter in Texas and Florida where
they created lasting memories and friendships!
James is survived by his wife of 23 years, Dorothy (Ford) Bray, and his brother Robert Eugene (Sharon) Bray. Children: Jami (Larry) Cameron, Jodi (John) Horvath, and Jay (Kathy) Bray. Step-Children: Chris (Paty) Coleman and Wendy (Garry) Fogler. Grandchildren: Alyssa Bly, Colton (Katie) Bly, Jordan Bly, Marki Bly, Evan Bray, and Marin (Gavin) Miller.
Step-Grandchildren: Courtney and Cassidy Fogler. James is also survived by 4 great-grandchildren.
Visitation/Viewing for James A. Bray will be Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 2-6 PM at Schaffer Funeral Home, 529 Jefferson Avenue in Defiance, Ohio. A funeral service will follow at 6 PM led by Pastor Wayne Altstaetter.
Preferred memorials can be made to the First Baptist Church Facility Renovation Project or the National Diabetes Association.
Online condolences can be given at www.Schafferfh.com