James Robert Bray Jr.

Jimmy Bray (James Robert Bray Jr.), 63, joined the church triumphant surrounded by his family at home Wednesday evening, May 8, 2013, in Nacogdoches. One of his final wishes was fulfilled in returning home for a few more days to be surrounded by family and the laughter of his grandchildren. Jimmy was Corpus Christi city attorney from 1991 to 2003. He joined the city attorney's office in 1976 and retired in 2003, but continued to do some contract work with the Corpus Christi legal department through 2010. A graduate of John H. Reagan High School in Austin, he majored in government at the University of Texas at Austin then attended Bates College of Law at the University of Houston, graduating with honor as a member of the Order of the Barons. He was known for his dedication to public service, long work days and encyclopedic knowledge of municipal law. He spent years as police advisor and head of the legal department administrative section before becoming first assistant city attorney, and finally city attorney. He took special pride in working with Mayor Mary Rhodes, council and other city staff to develop water resources for the future, including the "Mary Rhodes Pipeline" and Choke Canyon Reservoir. He was a devoted fisherman. One of his passions was the Padre Island National Seashore. He shared dozens of fishing and camping trips to Padre Island with family and friends, and knew that his father and namesake, James Robert Bray Sr., helped bring about the creation of the park while on the staff of former U.S. Sen. Ralph W. Yarborough. Jimmy also worked for Yarborough, part time as a political aide and law clerk from 1970 to 1975. Jimmy died after a nine-year fight with mantle cell lymphoma. During the treatment periods, he exercised with great determination. When hospitalized, he usually walked one to three miles daily around the M.D. Anderson hallways. During periods of good health, he enjoyed his family, fished and travelled. He was born July 19, 1949, in Amarillo, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Robert Bray Sr. and Nina May Owings Bray of Austin. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Christell Oberdorf Bray; his son, Brian Walker Bray (Claire) of Nacogdoches; his daughter, Julia Bray Crim (Chad) of New Zealand; sisters, Leola May Bray (Andy Uhr) of Brevard, N.C., Alice Elizabeth Bray of Corpus Christi, and Frances Ann Bray of Corpus Christi; brother, William Archer Bray (Carol) of Corpus Christi; six grandchildren, Bray Brian Crim, Truett James Crim, Eliana Elizabeth Crim, Erickson David Crim, Julia Eleanor Bray and Audrey Walker Bray; nieces and nephews Nicholas Patrick Davis (Christina) and Travis James Springer of St. Louis, Mo., William Graham Bray (Rachel) and Emily Laura Bray of Corpus Christi; and great nieces and nephews, David Alexander Davis, Erin Ashland Davis, Clare Dianne Davis, Gillian Nichole Davis, Elise Julia Davis and Diana Sage Bray. The family belonged to Parkway Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi prior to moving to Nacogdoches in 2003. Upon arrival in Nacogdoches, they joined the church family at Westminister Presbyterian Church. A memorial service will be held in Nacogdoches at 10 a.m. Monday, May 13, 2013, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. At his request, his ashes will be spread at Padre Island at a later date. Arrangements are through Laird Funeral Home, Nacogdoches. Two suggested memorials to the memory of James Robert Bray Jr. are The Mission Fund, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 903 North St., Nacogdoches, Texas 75964, 936-564-0203, www.westpreschurch.com; and the Coastal Conservation Association Marine Habitat Fund, 6919 Portwest, suite 100, Houston, Texas 77024, 713-626-4234, www.ccatexas.org.

Funeral Home

2116 SOUTH STREET Nacogdoches, TX 75964-6126
(936) 569-1366

Published in The Daily Sentinel on May 11, 2013