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Sunday, April 8, 2018

#52ancestors Post Fourteen: Monte DeRay Bryan

This week's writing prompt for #52ancestors is The Maiden Aunt. The Cambridge Dictionary defines maiden aunt as an aunt who is not married and is no longer young. My father's two sisters, Monte DeRay Bryan and Myrtie Marie Bryan, were my maiden aunts. I wrote about both of these aunts in 2014 and chose to write about DeRay today as I have additional information to share. 

My aunt went by her middle name, DeRay. Dad sometimes called her DeeDee and we knew her as Aunt DeeDee. DeRay was born in Erath County, Texas on March 11, 1904. She was the second child born of Myrtie Hairston and Redic Bryan. Her family moved to Baylor County in 1905. She spent most of her childhood in Baylor County. 

In addition to school activities, DeRay was an active member of the B. Y. P. U. (Baptist Young People's Union), the Woodmen Circle, and a member of the Baylor Bridge Club.

DeRay graduated from Seymour High School in 1920. The photo above was found in her high school yearbook. 

She attended Simmons College in Abilene for one year. At the beginning of her second year, she accepted a job teaching for the Corn community in Baylor County. I wonder if this was out of financial need or obligation. Would she have earned a degree if given a choice?

DeRay taught in the Corn community, in Seymour, and in Lamb County, before settling in Borger, Texas where she taught until 1941. 

According to History of Hutchinson County, Texas: 104 years, 1876-1980, DeRay arrived in Borger, Texas in 1927. This was shortly after her mother died. After her father's death in 1929, her siblings joined her and she was the primary wage earner. 

Dad (Whit Bryan) and his sister, DeRay - about 1942
DeRay continued her education by attending classes in the summers and served in several leadership roles before leaving teaching due to financial needs.

DeRay was active in her church, a Red Cross Volunteer, and served as an election official. 

DeRay never married. I know about two serious boyfriends. One died while he and DeRay were dating and I only have little information about the other. 

DeRay had more family obligations than most young women her age. By age 25, both of her parents died. My father, her youngest sibling, was only eight years old. She became his guardian and with little money, and the help of her sister, Marie, cared for my father until he joined the Navy in 1940. 

Whit sent flowers to his sisters for Mother's Day when
stationed at Pearl Harbor during WWII.
This was such an appropriate gesture and the fact this
card was saved showed how much it was appreciated. 

For more about DeRay, check my 2014 post - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #3 Monte DeRay Bryan.

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© 2018


Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn

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