BLACK, Patricia Anne Bray "Pat"|
Patricia Anne Bray was born to Anne Holbrook & Henry Bray on April 12, 1933, the 4th of 5 children, on a pecan farm near Carbon, Texas. This was the height of the "Great Depression" and times were hard. Within a couple of years, her father took a job with the newly established Federal Petroleum Board in East Texas. Patsy's (as she was called then) earliest memories are of living in Tyler, Texas, where her brother, Henry Grant (Buz) was born in 1935, which delighted her no end. She had one sister, Mary Fern, whom she adored, but who was more than 5 years older and therefore not a playmate. The Brays had sadly lost 2 other daughters, Carolyn Maxine being their first born & Jessica Anne their third born, to pneumonia at an early age, whom Patsy never knew. Tyler was where she began piano lessons and a life long love affair with music.
In 1942, a year after WWII started, her father was transferred to Midland, Texas, and this is where she spent the rest of her school years. This was a fairly small town at the time, and therefore people knew most everyone and formed lasting friendships. Though not an athlete, Patsy was active in most other school activities, drama, music, honor society, majorette, Latin club, school newspaper editor, girls social club, Girl Scouts, and her church, playing piano for Sunday morning services.
Upon graduation from Midland High School, Patsy attended the University of Texas in Austin. After her 3rd year, her father retired and her parents moved to Austin from Midland. This turned out to be a very significant milestone in her life. Her parents befriended two sisters around Patsy's age who were also attending UT. They were dating two Air Force officers from Bergstrom Air Force Base who had a third AF friend they wanted her to meet. In effect, her parents set Patsy up with a blind date! As soon as she heard his voice from the front door saying to her dad, "Hi, I'm Bob Black," she knew he was special. Just over a year later, on December 11, 1954, they were married in University Christian Church, Austin, where Patsy was a charter member. Thus began the best part of her life.
Bob & Pat both loved to travel and were fascinated with seeing new places. Thus, they went to Monterrey, Mexico, for their honeymoon. When Bob finished his Air Force commitment, he took a position in Los Angeles, CA, where they lived the next 5 years. While there, they took a 3 month leave of absence, bought a VW Beetle to pick up in Germany and toured Europe, including Berlin before there was a wall. Upon their return to California, Bob went back to school and earned his Masters from UCLA. Then it was time to start a family. Though they loved the California beach life, they felt it was not an ideal location to raise a family, so they ended up in McGregor, a very small town in central Texas. They were truly blessed, starting in 1960 with a daughter, Beverly, and then two sons, Gregory in 1963 & Michael in 1964, adopted as infants from The Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth. Life just got better and better. After 10 years in McGregor, wanderlust set in and the family started moving about. First to Irving, TX, then Southampton, England, then to Pittsburgh, PA, Houston, TX, Aberdeen, Scotland, back to Houston, then New Orleans, LA, and finally ending in Georgetown, TX. These moves were interspersed with vacation trips to many interesting places. During their time in Southampton, Pat & the kids rented a VW camper one summer and took their own one month tour of Europe, which Bob joined for the first week.
Over the years, Pat cooked, sewed, decorated, painted, wallpapered, upholstered, knitted, hooked rugs, entertained, started the first racially integrated Brownie Girl Scout troop in McGregor, was Cub Scout Den Mother in Pittsburgh, taught the children piano, took care of family finances, participated in a number of volunteer programs, played a lot of bridge in the early years, and enjoyed reading to the extent that she often claimed her epitaph should be "She never read a book she didn't like." She showed the kids how to make S'mores, watermelon rind false teeth, snow ice cream and a joyful noise. She baked cupcakes for home rooms, made Halloween costumes, birthday cakes, dyed Easter eggs, made fairy tale marshmallow castles and Christmas tree ornaments. Some of these things she did very well; others - not so much. In other words, she was a wife and mother and reveled in it. She worked outside the home in the aviation industry before the children were born and again, after they were all out of high school, in the oil and gas industry. But nothing was as satisfying or meaningful to her as her role of wife and mother. Eventually this role expanded to include being grandmother to two perfect (just ask Grandma) grandsons, Beverly's sons, Steven & Sean Smith, and great-grandmother (G.G.) to precious Araceli Smith, Sean's adorable daughter. As if this weren't enough family, her sister Mary Fern gave her a niece, Lisa Neelley, and her brother Buz and wife Loye provided two nephews, David (who in turn had two daughters, Ashton & Haley, and one son, Cody) and Maarten (who had four children, Elizabeth, Scott, Shelby and Hannah). She also shared joyous occasions with her many cousins, who remained close throughout her life. With all of this it's easy to see that Pat enjoyed a truly wonderful life!
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, February 21, 2014 in the Chapel of Ramsey Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the
You may share a message or memory in the memorial guestbook at www.RamseyFuneral.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20, 2014