The late-Abby Bray, Jr., to be inducted into BCHS Education Hall of Fame

Beloved educator, West Columbia Council member, to be honored posthumously Thursday

Abbott L. “Abby” Bray, Jr., was one of the most-beloved teachers ever at Brookland-Cayce High School.

And to honor his memory, the Brookland-Cayce High School Education Foundation has selected Bray, posthumously, as the 2017 BCHS Educator Hall of Fame Inductee.

Bray will be inducted at the Brookland-Cayce High School Education Foundation’s 16th Annual Educator Hall of Fame Gala on Thursday. It is at Seawell’s at 1125 Rosewood Drive, Columbia. The social hour begins at 6 p.m. A reception with hors d’oeuvres begins at 6:45 p.m.

Abby Bray (Photo provided)

There is no shortage of admiration for Bray from the people who knew him well.

“He was loved by students, staff, his friends. Everybody loved Abby,” said Linda Alford-Wooten, chairwoman of the Lexington Two School District. She graduated with Bray from Brookland-Cayce High School in 1975.

Lynn Summer knew Bray since the ninth grade when they lived around the corner from each other in Cayce. The two were close friends for life. She said she has kept a voice message from him.

“Abby was special,” said Summer, who teaches health at Brookland-Cayce. “He was voted “Best All-Around” in our senior year. And that describes him.”

Summer also said as a teacher, Bray had the childrens’ best interest at heart.

David Diamond and Bray were friends for 50 years.

“We knew each other since we were both six-years-old,” Diamond said. They went to college together, were in the same fraternity and lived life as best friends. Diamond still gets emotional when talking about Bray.

“It’s very gratifying to see him inducted into the hall of fame,” Diamond said. “Abby had this saying, ‘It’s a beautiful thing,'” Diamond said. It fits here.”

Diamond said Bray worked hard and overcame a lot of adversity. “He touched so many lives. He was so good at relating, I think because he knew what they were going through,” he said.

Wooten agreed with Diamond and Summer.

“Our class was like a family, Wooten said. “It’s fabulous and well-deserved that Abby is being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

She said Bray, who taught history, made his students “love learning.”

Wooten also said for Bray to work at his alma mater — where he also served as athletic director — was a “dream come true.”

She said he loved Cayce and West Columbia, and the University of South Carolina, from where he graduated, as much as the community loved him.

Bray died of cancer in May of 2013. He served on the West Columbia City Council, representing District 4, from 2011 until his death. A butterfly garden was dedicated in Bray’s name at the Jack Carraway Park on Hudson Street in West Columbia in 2015.

“He handled it so well,” Wooten said of Bray, after learning he had terminal cancer.
“Whatever the problem, Abby had a way of making you feel everything was going to be alright.”

Tickets are available for $25 per person. Corporate sponsorships are available for $350. Call Nanette Wooten for more information at 739-8076 or visit the BCHS Foundation website.