Barbara Payne Cray died peacefully at home on June 5, 2017, with her son, Kevin, by her side.
Barbara was born August 11, 1924, in White Plains, N.Y., the youngest daughter of Kenneth Wilcox Payne and Ruth Austin Adams Payne.
She was predeceased by her siblings, Kenneth, Ruth (Bucher), Joan (Platner), and Wallace. Barbara was baptized in 1958 at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Bristol, R.I. Barbara was wife of Douglas White Cray (deceased June 2007), and mother of Duncan Payne Cray and wife, Danielle Demonte of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and France, Kevin White Cray and wife, Catherine, of Denver, Colo., Michael Chase Cray (deceased) and wife, Jacqui Barber Cray (deceased), Benjamin Adams Cray and wife, Karen Markin of West Kingston, R.I., and Caitlin Ruth Cray and husband, Howard Bulick of Bingen, Wash. She was grandmother to Colleen Stephanie Cray and Edward Avery Bulick.
We cherish the memory of Barbara's intellect, independence, and delight in nature. Valedictorian of the Pleasantville High School, Class of 1942 in Pleasantville, N.Y., she was voted most intelligent girl by her classmates and received the coveted American Legion award for scholarship, citizenship and leadership. In high school she was also elected President of Student Government and was a member of the National Honor Society. After high school she attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, but enlisted in the Army during World War II. She served as a Medical Technician for the 310th Army Air Force Base Unit, Williams Field, Ariz., and was honorably discharged in October 1946. She received the Victory Medal for her service during the War. After the War, Barbara studied at The New School in New York City, where she reacquainted with Douglas Cray, whom she had met in grammar school. They fell in love and were married at Candlewood Lake, Conn., on June 12, 1948. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 in West Kingston, R.I. Barbara and Doug started their family in Bristol, R.I., then lived in Alexandria, Va., and Bedford, N.Y. They moved to Newburyport, Mass., in 1978 where Barbara obtained a degree in library sciences from Northern Essex Community College. She worked far into her seventies as a librarian in Byfield and Newburyport, Mass. She was an active member of the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Inc. Shortly after her 90th birthday, Barbara moved to Denver, Colo., where she lived with her son Kevin and his wife, Catherine. To all my children and grandchildren I would like to say, "Thank you for giving my life meaning and filling it with more experience and emotion than a single individual can easily absorb."
A memorial service for Barbara will be held in Newburyport in August of 2017. Memorial donations can be made to Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Inc., 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950.
Published on June 9, 2017