A resident of Pampa, who has been instrumental in the history of the community, will be celebrating her 100th birthday this coming Tuesday.
Thelma Mae Bray (nee Osborn) was born on June 13th, 1923. Bray graduated from Pampa High School in 1940 and attended West Texas State University in 1941 as well as the United States Air Force School in 1942 to help in the war effort.
In 1944, she married Clyde Bray and enjoyed seven marvelous years together until Clyde’s passing in 1951. Together, the Brays had three wonderful children: Ronald, Rodney, and Debra.
From 1975 to 1999, Bray worked at the United States Post Office in Pampa. In 1985, she received the Community Service Award from the United States Postal Service.
Bray is known for her community-oriented mindset and has been influential to many of the organizations in Pampa that people still enjoy today.
In 1956, at the age of 33, Bray was the chairman of the civic beautification committee in the Pampa Garden Club. She, along with the members, oversaw the developments of Aspen Street Park and many others.
In 1963, Bray was bestowed the honor of Woman of the Year by Beta Sigma Phi.
In 1967, Bray designed and developed the Hike & Bike Trail.
In 1972, Bray became a member of the Pampa Army Air Field Reunion Association. She and the members organized the Pampa Army Air Field/ Veterans of Foreign Wars Museum, which still stands today as the Freedom Museum U.S.A. Bray is the last living member of the PAAF Reunion Association and in 2018, was honored for her decades of contributions.
In 1976, Bray was involved in the Gray County Bicentennial Celebration.
In 1982, Bray was the co-chairman for the 80th Birthday Celebration of Gray County. In that same year, Bray was also the chairman of the Pampa Chamber of Commerce Civic Improvement Committee.
In 1985, at the age of 62, Bray organized the Outdoor Sculpture Foundation.
In 1991, at the age of 68, Bray designed and developed the patio garden at the Coronado Nursing Center. In that same year, Bray and Glenna Lea Miller founded Pampa’s Tribute to Woody Guthrie. Today, the museum is one of Pampa’s most lively attractions and is under the direction of Michael Sinks.
In 1993, at the age of 70, Bray received the Golden Nail Award from the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.
In 1994, at the age of 71, Bray oversaw the grand opening of Freedom Museum U.S.A.
In 2001, Bray authored the book, Reflections - The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie.
In 2002, at the age of 71, Bray helped organize the Gray County Centennial Celebration. In that same year, she was named the Citizen of the Year by the Pampa Chamber of Commerce.
In 2006, Bray was involved in the First Methodist Church Centennial Celebration.
In 2012, at the age of 89, Bray was involved in the Pampa Centennial Celebration. In that same year, she was involved in the Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration.
Of the many projects and events she was involved in, Bray worked on them simultaneously while working full-time at the U.S. Post Office.
Rodney Bray offered a few words of gratitude on his mother’s behalf.
“My mother thanks the citizens of Pampa,” Rodney said. “She truly loves this community.”