Co-founder of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network and former chair of Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine, Kevin Bray, died in Canberra on November 1.
A life member of Hockey ACT, he had a doctorate in nuclear physics from the ANU and later a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of International Law.
A keen fisher, his final public service position was with international fisheries with a six-month secondment in Rome.
Born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, he completed primary school in Merredin. With an aptitude for science, his principal encouraged him to attend high school in Kalgoorlie. He lived there with his uncle and aunt for three years. He completed the Leaving Certificate with seven subjects and four distinctions at the new high school in Merredin.
Meanwhile, in Kalgoorlie attending church, he met his future wife, Gwenyth. At the University of Western Australia, he did a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours and was advised to apply for a scholarship to the ANU.
Kevin and Gwenyth were married in 1961 at the Church of Christ in Subiaco. Before moving to Canberra in 1964, they had a daughter, Jennifer. Son, David, was born in Canberra in 1965.
After Kevin's graduation at the ANU in 1968, the family moved to Canada for four years, where Kevin undertook post-doctoral fellowships at Winnipeg and Edmonton universities. Returning to Australia, he had a short-lived academic career in Canberra, followed by a career in the public service.
After retirement in 2001 he did some contract work. Meanwhile, the family enjoyed many camping trips in Australia and overseas travel, including Israel.
Of this Gwenyth says: "It was there that Kevin and I became conscious of the injustices meted on the Palestinians by the Israeli government and armed forces and that began our long years of advocacy for the Palestinian people."
On July 31, 2006, representing the Churches of Christ, Kevin Bray signed a letter with senior Canberra clergy which questioned how Australia's leaders had remained "so cowardly silent" in the face of Middle East brutality.
Reflecting similar issues to today, the letter asked, did it not occur to the governments of Israel and the US the possibility of a lasting, generational peace was being made almost impossible while a new generation of youth was being accustomed to violence as a way of life? "We deplore the violence of Hezbollah and we deplore the violence of the State of Israel," the letter said.
Eight days later, Kevin Bray joined with senior clergy to condemn attacks in Australia against synagogues and other Jewish property.
Kevin Bray's passion for the equality of all people saw him leave hospital to vote 'yes' in the recent referendum.
Music was also important to him. When a young boy he sang in eisteddfods and at church. For more than 20 years he was a tenor with the ANU Choral Society.
He had an active involvement in many church and ecumenical activities, serving variously as president, secretary, treasurer and committee member.
With the harsh football grounds of the Western Australian gold fields, he chose to play hockey. After moving to Canberra he began playing hockey in 1965 for ANU and later United. He was selected for the Canberra Seconds side in 1967.
His major contribution to hockey was as an umpire. He was appointed to the Pan American Games in Colombia in 1974 and later an international series in New Zealand where he obtained his Olympic Games and World Cup ranking.
In 1975 he umpired at the third Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur and in 1979 at the Esanda World Hockey Tournament in Perth. He also officiated as a hockey umpire in Europe, Canada, South America and Asia.
He umpired at every Australian senior national championship between 1973 and 1980 and at Australian indoor championships between 1978 and 1986, where he umpired five gold medal matches. He was also a significant administrator for Hockey in the ACT.
A celebration of Kevin Bray's life was held on November 7 at the Ainslie Church of Christ. He is survived by his wife, Gwenyth, daughter Jennifer, son David and his wife Louise.
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