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Marjorie Ann Bray

Marjorie Ann Bray of West Des Moines, Iowa, peacefully passed away at the age of 95 on January 10, 2024, after a lengthy illness. Marjorie was predeceased by her husband of 55 years Gene, her sisters Janette Casey, Genevieve Van Houwling, and her parents Lloyd Casey and Anna Casey Arneal (Notz).


She is survived by her three children Jeannie Older (Chic), Suzanne Hensing (John), and John Bray (Susan). She has six grandchildren: Courtney Sterner (Tyler), Lauren Cole, Aishling Coyne, Katy Coyne (Ryan Sterner), Liza Bray, John Bray II, and great-grandson Archer Sterner.


Her family welcomes anyone who wishes to attend the visitation on January 19, 2024, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, located at 1627 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa. Visitation hours are from 5-7 PM with the Rosary to follow. On January 20, 2024, a funeral mass will be held in Marjorie’s honor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 10:30 AM with internment to follow at Resthaven Cemetery located at 801 19th Street, West Des Moines, Iowa.


Marjorie was born in Lenox, Iowa on October 25, 1928, where she spent her childhood and teen years, and then attended and graduated from Drake University. She met Gene Bray at a community choir where they were both members, and on August 10, 1950, they were married in Creston, Iowa. Soon after they were married, Gene was drafted and served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1951 to 1953. Marjorie gave birth to their first child in August 1951, while Gene was deployed. They went on to have two more children while living in Creston, and the family relocated to West Des Moines, Iowa in 1961.


Marjorie was a proud wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, teacher, and Iowan.  She loved music and expressed this love through playing the piano and singing, and even cut a song on a 45 record. Marjorie was dedicated to her career as an elementary teacher and reading specialist. Her three children remember her working on the lesson plans, staying late to work with a child who was struggling, and maintaining her credentials with continuing education. When she was at retirement age, the family recalls her expressing mixed feelings about retiring, as she loved the positive impact she had on students.


She liked baking and was known within the family for “Marjorie’s Sticky Buns,” and chocolate peanut clusters at Christmas. Marjorie enjoyed bridge, playing golf, fishing, and traveling. She and Gene were often on the road to Colorado, Arizona, and Virginia to see their children and grandchildren. Marjorie loved living in “The Hawkeye State.” When the time came for her to leave her home, she chose an assisted living home in West Des Moines. She loved sports, and in her world, there were two teams to watch: the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Drake Bulldogs. She and Gene regularly made the drive to Iowa City to watch Iowa football and basketball. She often spoke about the historic run the Drake Basketball team had in the NCAA tournament in 1969, making it to the final four. Marjorie lived a fulfilling life and was ahead of her time when it came to independent women.


If you wish to donate in Marjorie’s honor, the family suggests in lieu of flowers, that you contribute to Alzheimer's Association in memory of Marjorie Bray.  Alzheimer’s Association donation website can be found at alz.org.




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