Class of 2002
The B.A. in Liberal Studies that Raymond Walter Brady (Bell Gardens resident) earned on June 15 constituted a very special gift: on that day Ray also celebrated his 75th birthday. RayÂs wife of 26 years, Aylene, and a number of their children (they have eight between them) cheered proudly in the bleachers for this Âsenior seniorÂ--a 3.846 GPA honors student and member of both Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key national honors societies.
With extraordinary tenacity, Ray, one of Cal State L.A.Âs Âreturning students,Â has had a University degree in his sights since 1983. That was when Ray and Aylene were both graduating from East L.A. College as music majors and beginning their studies at Cal State L.A. Only a year before, Ray had ÂgraduatedÂ from a 35-year career at NorthropÂ15 years in the aircraft division and 20 years in the electronics division, mainly as a photographic technician. (Photography, an early hobby, turned Ray into an excellent photographer.)
Half-jokingly, Ray says he looked to education as a matter of Âsurvival.Â ÂIÂd heard that many people who took classes after retirement lived longer!Â he recalled wryly, although his finals at East L.A. immediately after his retirement may have given him second thoughts. At the same time, the Bradys had begun classes at Cal State L.A. Aylene eventually left school and returned to work, but Ray continued, switching from a major in music to liberal studies. His directed thesis, an extensive research project required for all liberal studies majors, focused on an analysis of the Los Angeles River as connector of L.A.Âs ÂGarden ParadiseÂ to the cityÂs ÂIndustrial Garden.Â
RayÂs intellectual achievements notwithstanding, his overriding love is still music, and his many electives in voice and chorus confirm his continuing attraction to that muse.
RayÂs interest in singing and writing songs started when he was quite young, and by 1949, when he was 22, he had written, published and recorded his first song, South America is Where IÂll Go. A number of other songs followed, some written with music arranger and conductor Alexandre Cherrier. With Aylene, who is a pianist, he has appeared with many chorales and light operas and has entertained audiences at fraternal clubs, private parties and retirement homes.
Not the ÂretiringÂ type, Ray hardly envisions sitting still now that heÂs reached another milestone in his life. He easily walks five miles a day with his dog, Gabby, still writes songs, and intends to continue singing for audiences.
This graduation holds extra sentiment for RayÂin 1945 he enlisted in the Navy, missing the last half of his senior year at Torrance high school. Although he received credit for those months, and his diploma as well, he always missed participating in the graduation ceremony. His graduation, with Aylene, from East L.A. College was a moment of great pride. His commencement from California State University, Los Angeles on his significant birthday was an unforgettable and emotional moment for the entire Brady family.
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