Iris ‘Joan’ Bray

Joan Bray peacefully entered the Kingdom of Heaven surrounded by all of her children on December 11, 2017.

Joan was born to Sydney and Frances Holland on May 27, 1924, in Richmond, Surrey, England, where she grew up with her brother, Ken. She was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Tiffin Girls School where she graduated at the age of 17. Raised in the midst of nightly bombings during WWII, wearing a helmet and carrying a gas mask to school or work was a daily event. 

Joan married Ralph Bray, a U.S. soldier stationed in London, in Surrey, England, on June 3, 1944. Soon after, she made the long, solo journey to Miles City, Montana, prior to being joined by her new husband at the conclusion of the war. Together, they raised their family and operated Bray’s Mortuary in Miles City. In 1958, Joan and Ralph, along with their four children, moved to Terry, Montana, where they owned and operated the Agate Angus Ranch. In 1970, they relocated to Bozeman. Joan graduated with honors from Montana State University in 1974 with a degree in Home Economics.

A highlight of her life, Joan proudly represented Miles City and the state as Mrs. Montana in the 1956 Mrs. America pageant. Through the years, Joan participated in the Robert Burns Scottish dance troupe, enjoyed doing a variety of arts and crafts, played bridge regularly, taught pre-school and kindergarten several years, served on the Terry public school board, delivered Meals on Wheels, volunteered at the Bozeman Senior Center and was an accomplished seamstress and knitter.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents and Ralph, her husband of 60 years.  

She is survived by her brother, Ken (Betty) Holland; her four children, Ken (Vonnie) Bray, Edwin (Georgia K) Bray, Janet Bray, and Stuart (Patricia) Bray; 9 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service celebrating Joan’s life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.