GAITHER C. BRAY, Col., U.S. Army, Retired
The family of Gaither C. Bray, Col., U.S. Army, Ret., age 91, of Windsor Locks, was saddened by his passing on October 10, 2020, at St. Francis Hospital after a short stay, but after having received cardiac and associated care there and elsewhere over several years.
He was born in Purcell, Oklahoma, on January 26, 1929, to the late Walter Gaither Bray and Huldah Young Bray. He was married to the love of his life, Karen O’Connor Bray, with whom he had shared 24 years of marriage, during which they enjoyed several years of motor home travel throughout the United States, especially the southwest. Always fascinated by the inspirations of his pioneer forebears, some of whom were born in Indian Territory, some cattle ranchers, and some participants in the 1889 “Land Run,” he spent several years researching and documenting family genealogy, immigration, and subsequent migration into the midwest and south before, during, and after the Civil War. He was intrigued by the unknowable details of his great-grandfather’s Civil War experience, from which he was never to return.
Many who knew his roots have called him a cowboy at heart, but all who have known Gaither have had the benefit of knowing a man with a kind, generous, and selfless nature, self-deprecating and possessing an instinct to identify need and take care of it, especially when such help was not solicited. A patriot and lover of the U.S. Constitution, in his traveling days he carried a supply of the pocket-sized format, handing them out and encouraging the recipient to get to know and love it. In later years he has garnered a following, sitting in front of his home watering his spot of grass and engaging in conversations with passersby, always asking the young people what their plans were. Being ever so proud to have served his country for so long in so many different roles, he never missed the chance to promote the opportunities offered by the U.S. military services. During this time of his recent passing, a small flag waves in this spot by the busy road, where many of those who often tooted and waved might well mark his absence.
In addition to his parents, Col. Bray was predeceased by three sisters, Gwendolyn Day; Delsenia Standley; and a toddler, Mooneyne Bray, who died at four years old, just before he was born, and a great-grandson, Ezra Hinojosa, who died at birth. Survivors include his wife, Karen Bray; three adult children from an earlier marriage -- James Bray of Williamsburg, Virginia; Vicky Bray of Fort Worth, Texas; and Michael Bray and his wife Teresa of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas; five grandchildren – Tara Wade (Brian); Megan Hinojosa (Anastacio); Matthew Bray (Michelle); Rhoni Perez (Jess); and Amberly Bray; and fourteen great-grandchildren. He also leaves two brothers-in-law, Peter O’Connor of Suffield, Ct., and Kenneth O’Connor (Tricia) of Somers, Ct, a sister-in-law, Kathy O’Connor Tersavich (Howard), of Windsor Locks, Ct., and several nieces and nephews.
Col. Bray’s military career spanned 35 years of service in command, aviation, and logistical management positions. Just missing the opportunity to serve in World War II, Col. Bray first joined the Naval Reserves for 3 years, then the U.S, Army in 1950, which began 32 years of devoted service, culminating in his retirement position as Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Logistics Center, Fort Lee, Virginia, in 1982. Some of his earlier assignments included Director of Logistics, Fort Rucker, Alabama; Chief, Aircraft Procurement and Acquisition, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Chief, Transportation Support, DA Transportation Department, Deputy Chief of Logistics, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.; Executive Officer, J4, MACV Headquarters, Vietnam; Commander, 1st Depot Battalion, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Vietnam; Chief, Rotary Wing Division, Fort Eustis, Virginia; Company Commander, 612 Direct Support/General Support Aircraft Maintenance Company, Augsburg, Germany; Company Commander, 630th Engineer Equipment Company, 19th Engineer Group, Korea.
Following his retirement from military service, Col. Bray held marketing, management and executive positions related to Department of Defense contracts and commercial services. His corporate employment included Northrop Worldwide Aircraft Services; DynCorp Support Services, and Pacific Architects and Engineers, from which he retired in 2001 as Vice President of Marketing.
Col. Bray earned his B.S. degree from the University of Omaha; M.A. from Shippensberg State College; and advanced military education at the U.S. Army War College Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the U.S. Army Flight School, Fort Rucker Alabama. He was a member of the American Legion and several professional military organizations.
Services are private, with interment with full military honors to take place at a National Veterans’ Cemetery in the San Antonio, Texas area. Windsor Locks Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements locally. Memorial offerings in his name would be welcomed to be sent to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Saint Joseph’s Residence, 1365 Enfield St., Enfield, CT 06082.
For online streaming of the services please visit www.porterloring.com/obituaries/Gaither--C--Bray-Col-US-Army-Rtired?obld=18664326#/obituaryInfo