In Memoriam: James Donald Bray M.D.

Don Bray passed away at home surrounded by family after living with Alzheimer’s since 2003. He was born August 28, 1930 and died December 3, 2009.

James Donald Bray M.D.

James Donald Bray M.D.

He was born in Pratt, Kansas, first son of Dorothy and Harold Bray. He attended Kansas State University, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. At age 19 he explored South America, Europe, and Africa. He returned to Kansas, where he married his first wife, Rose Ann Ledferd, in 1952. Don graduated from Washburn University in 1954, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, and served as a hospital administrator at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas.

Don graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1961, followed by an internship at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. With his family, Don moved to Salem, where he completed a psychiatric residency at Oregon State Hospital.

He joined the Oregon Division of Mental Health, served twice as division head, and remained until his retirement in 1989. Don also taught in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical School at OHSU.

His pioneering leadership was recognized by the National Institutes of Mental Health. As their consultant, Don evaluated many state mental health programs around the nation. He served two terms as president of the National Association for Mental Health Program Directors. Following retirement, Don consulted with the state of South Carolina, resulting in the successful move of many patients to community settings.

Don had a lifelong love of sailing and singing. He played guitar and ukulele and taught each of his children to play those instruments. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Rose Ann Ledferd Bray; and his daughter, Ann (Mike) Jones. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Bray; five children, Chris Bray (Dave Sweet), Kathi (Tom) Douglas of Salem, Jamie (Furd) Halsell of Pilot Point, Texas, Lisa (Eric) Utz of Florence, Jim (Holly) Bray, of Salem; and his brother, Jerry (Mary) Bray of Salem. Don had nineteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, two step-children, Sherrie (Brooke) Burdick of Mukilteo, Wash., and Mark (Tam) Miles, M.D. of Pauline, S.C. and four step-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on January 16 at First United Methodist Church, 600 State Street in Salem. Private interment on December 19.