James Ben Bray of North Little Rock, Arkansas, formerly of Waldron, Arkansas, went to be with his Lord and Savior Friday, September 25, 2020, in North Little Rock, Arkansas. James was born November 4,1950, in Manila, Arkansas to Ernest "Buck" Bray and Roxie Irene Bray. He was 69 years old.
James hired on at the North Little Rock Electric Department as a Groundman in May of 1975. Soon after, he was promoted into the Lineman Apprenticeship program, and in 1981, he made Journeyman Lineman. In 1982, James moved into the Engineering Department as a Distribution Designer. He quickly climbed the ranks in engineering, and in 1994 was promoted to Distribution Engineer. This is where James spent the majority of his career, twenty-one of his forty-three years and where his talents really began to shine. A large part of what is known today as NLR Electric's distribution system was designed by James Bray. Substations were his specialty, in fact, years ago the Lakewood switch station was renamed, the "James B. Bray Lakewood Switch Station" to honor James. Many will never know the dedication he showed to his department and NLRED's customers other than a few co-workers and his family, who themselves made great sacrifices due to his devotion. He was the glue that held it all together for many years at the Electric Department. The level of respect that James had earned ws exemplary and unmatched. He was loved by all within the organization. In April 2015, James was appointed General Manager by Mayor Joe Smith. No one has ever been more deserving of a nomination. He served approximately three years in that role and retired in May of 2018, with hopes of many years of walking his dog, Cooper, working in yard and traveling with his wonderful wife and soul mate Pandora. Needless to say, he will be missed by many but his legacy at the North Little Rock Electric Department will not be forgotten.
When James was not working, he enjoyed playing golf, going to NLRHS football and basketball games. James was an avid Razorback fan. But James was happiest when traveling with his family and spending time with them taking cruises and having friends along was always a bonus.
James leaves behind to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Pandora of the home, one son, Corey Bray and wife Sasha of Sherwood, Arkansas and one granddaughter, Mahalia (Haley) Bray. James is also survived by one brother, Maurice (Red) Long of Apache Junction, Arizona, and sisters, Eautaw Buckhannan of Seattle, Washington, Kay Kiln of Spokane, Washington and sister in law Rita Winn and husband Darron of Melissa, Texas. James will be missed by all that knew him and the many whose lives he impacted including an extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins, family by marriage and work family he loved dearly.
James is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Roxie Bray and one brother, Rocky Verdell Long.
James' life celebration will be 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Waldron, Arkansas with Rev. Paul Kinsey and Rev. Roy Edwards officiating. Arrangements are being entrusted to the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waldron, Arkansas.
James' pallbearers will be Richmond Langley, Jeremy Hunt, Trevor Hattabaugh, Shay Hattabaugh, Garris Hattabaugh, and Chase Hattabaugh. Honorary pallbearers will be Larry Treece, Scott Springer, Ron Osbourne, Joe Martin, Mike Allen, Mike Daniels, Ray Johnson, Gary Sartin, Ebbie Eugene Ussery, Danny Bradley, Mayor Joe Smith and all of his North Little Rock Electric friends.
James' visitation will be Monday, September 28, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waldron, Arkansas.
During these trying and difficult times, we must limit public gatherings in our funeral home and do our part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Family and friends are welcome to attend the service but everyone must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.