JUSTICE A.F. BRAY

In 1935 Governor Merriam appointed Bray to the Superior Court of Contra Costa County. He served until 1947, when Governor Earl Warren named him Justice of the District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. He became a presiding judge in 1959.  Bray was president of the California Conference of Judges in 1951 and 1952, a member of the Justice Council, and member of the Committee on Juvenile Justice. Although he officially retired in 1964, Justice Bray remained active, serving part-time both the appellate court and the Supreme Court until he was ninety-three.

His close friend Wakefield Taylor of Martinez, also a retired appellate court justice, has said Bray was one of the state's finest trial judges: A "tremendous individual" who "wrote many significant decisions."

After receiving his law degree, Bray practiced in San Francisco for two years. He then moved to Martinez, joining the firm of J. E. Rodgers, later Rodgers and Bray. In 1914 he became an Assistant District Attorney for Contra Costa County.  He also served as City Attorney for Martinez, Concord, and Pinole.

 

In 1976 he received the University of California Medal as the outstanding living alumnus of Hastings. Justice Bray was an active supporter of the University.  He was a past president of the U.C. Berkeley Alumni Association and chairman of the board of Hastings College of the Law.

Spending seventy years in the field of justice did not prevent Bray's becoming a leader in civic and philanthropic organizations in Martinez and beyond. Associated with: the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, California Public Health Association, Martinez Community Hospital, Martinez Masonic Lodge, Commonwealth Club, and Richmond Elks, he received many honors.

 

In 1913 Bray married Leila Veale, daughter of Richard Raines Veale, the highly respected sheriff of Contra Costa County known throughout the Pacific Coast for his firmness and courage. Leila Veale herself had been the first editor of the Alhambra High School Torch in 1909. She maintained her interest in literature and child welfare throughout her life, being active in the Well Baby Clinic and founding the first P.T.A. in Martinez. She and Judge Bray both had a great impact on their community. They were married seventy years.

Judge Bray was instrumental in having the first two bridges built across Carquinez Strait. From the 1880's on, the federal government had opposed attempts to bridge San Francisco Bay and adjacent navigable waters because of the engineering problems involved. Bray, at the time attorney for the American Toll Bridge Company, traveled to Washington, D.C, to convince the authorities the technology to build one was available. Military necessity, he argued, made a connection necessary. Therefore, construction began on a cantilever-type span over Carquinez Strait between Crockett and Vallejo.  The second span was the low-grade Southern Pacific railroad bridge connecting Martinez and Benicia, replacing the famous train ferry. In recognition of his contributions toward this achievement, Bray, the Southern Pacific's local counsel, was master of ceremonies at the dedication of the bridge. 

Not only did Judge Bray help make history. He recognized the importance of preserving records of our past. In 1950 Bray was Landmarks Committee Chairman of the Contra Costa Development Association, which he had founded in 1936. By April 1951 Bray initiated an organization meeting of the Contra Costa Historical Society at Nick's Place in Martinez. Dr. C. L. Abbott, County Coroner, was the speaker. Elected first president of the Society, A. F. Bray served for thirty years, handing over his office to Carol Leland in 1981. As President he indicated that "the organization was to preserve for future generations the intensely interesting history of our County and the many articles of Contra Costiana which otherwise would be lost."

Bray remained on the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Historical Society until 1985, achieving a full and impressive career with that group. Bray also helped organize the Martinez Historical Society (1973). He frequently served on the Board of Directors and was a Supporting Director at the time of his death. He was a member of the California Historical Society, the California Heritage Council, E Clampus Vitus, the Pony Express Centennial Celebration Committee (1960) and the County Bicentennial Committee (1976).

With his keen intellect, spirit of service, and breadth of interests, A. F. Bray led a wonderful life. There is no doubt he left his mark on Contra Costa County.

Source: Contra Costa County Historical Society

A.F. "FRANK" BRAY, JR. 

Frank was born in San Francisco on November 24, 1918 to Frank and Leila Bray of Martinez. He was raised, attended school, and lived most of his adult life in Martinez.

 

He went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1940. While at Stanford he was a four-year member of the varsity fencing team.

 

Frank began law school, but when the war broke out, he took an assignment at the Iowa Ordnance Plant in Burlington, Iowa. It was during his stay in Iowa that he met Lorraine.

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He was given a commission in the U. S. Naval Reserve in 1942 and his first action of the war was as commander of the gunnery crew on a tanker that was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. He earned commendations for rescuing fellow crew members and spent several days on a life raft before they were located and rescued. He served the remainder of the war in the Pacific where he commanded LSI 987. He left the Navy in 1946 and returned to law school graduating from USC Law School in 1949. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1949.

He returned to Martinez and married Lorraine Cerena Paule on June 25, 1949. They lived briefly in Berkeley but settled in Martinez where Frank practiced law as the senior partner of Bray & Baldwin and successive firms to Bray & Bray. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court in 1960. Frank practiced law in Martinez for 52 years. He only retired from his law practice in December 2001.

Frank was a tireless worker and devoted husband and father, who always made time for the many groups and causes he supported. He served numerous community groups as a board member and as an officer. Most notably, he was the Chairman of the National Board of Camp Fire Girls and was very active on the local council of Boy Scouts of America.

 

He was the president of the Contra Costa Historical Society, the Martinez Historical Society, John Muir Memorial Society, and the Contra Costa County Development Association. He served as chairman of the State Bar of California's adoption committee and as president of the Contra Costa Chapter of the U.S. Navy League.

 

He was very proud of his with the Rotary Club and his record of perfect attendance for 49 years. He served as president of the local chapter twice. He was also a long time member of the Martinez Masonic Lodge, the BPOE (Elks), and the Yerba Buena Chapter of the E. Clampus Vitis. He served his community as a trustee for the Martinez Unified School, a member of the Martinez Recreation Commission, and through local efforts to raise money to fight TB. He was also a founding director and member of the board of the Martinez Education Foundation and a founding director of John Muir National Bank, a bank established to serve the local community.

Frank was a lifetime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Martinez, where he was active in church affairs serving as a senior warden over his entire adult life.

On March 30, 2002, Frank Bray died peacefully with his family by his side in Martinez. Frank is survived by his wife of 52 years, Lorraine. He is also survived by son Oliver, son Brian and, daughter Margot.

Source: The following article is taken from Frank's obituary in the Martinez Gazette, dated April 2, 2002