Madison - Gladys Kathryn Bray, age 94, died Thursday, February 20, 2014, spending her final hours in peace with her two beloved grandsons at her side. She was born in Wausau, Wisconsin on August 17, 1919, the third of four children, to Clara and Charles Mader.
She grew up in Wausau and, after graduating from high school, went to Saint Joseph's Nursing School in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Upon graduation she moved to Madison and was a nurse at Madison General Hospital. A blind date evolved into her marriage to Robert W Bray on July 2, 1943 and together they raised two children.
After marriage she continued to work part time in nursing and actively participated in a variety of community activities including volunteering with the American Red Cross, Daughters of Demeter, University League and United Church of Christ. Her passion was her family, to whom she dedicated her energies.
In work and play she included them, playing an active role in shaping not only the lives of her two children, but her two grandsons.
A truly loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, her joys included bridge, dancing, and wild flower gardening. Born and raised in the big city (Wausau), she married a farm boy and adapted to part of the rural lifestyle including gardening, harvesting and her renowned canned tomatoes(40 quarts was an average year's production).
Golf, gardening, skiing, Badger sports, cooking and water skiing were a proxy for family time. Having traveled the world, her heart belonged at home with her family. She was a compassionate and sympathetic soul. She will be remembered for her kindness. Even in the depths of her final hours she asked about the comfort of others.
Kathryn was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Robert W Bray and her son Robert W Bray 11. She is survived by her daughter Jane (Eric) Englund of Madison; her grandsons Jon (Marcela) of Milwaukee, and Jay (Elisa) of Wisconsin Dells; her great-grandchildren Sofia Julia, Lucia Catherine, Allie Kathryn and Luke Elmer.
A special thanks to the wonderful staff at Attic Angel for five years of love and quality assistance and also to Vicki Tomazewski, a new friend, who was a good friend to Kathryn in her final years and helped grandma and her family face the ravages of dementia with tenderness and affection.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance, 517 North Segoe Rd, Madison, Wis. 53705
Funeral services will be held Thursday, February 27 at Cress Funeral Home, (3610 Speedway Road) at 11 am. Family and friends may call starting at 10 am.
There will be a less formal celebration of her life and a light lunch at Cress Funeral Home following the service, followed by burial at Sunset Memory Gardens (7302 Mineral Point Rd, Madison WI 53717).