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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Celestine “Dean” Bray, 71

Celestine “Dean” Bray, age 71, passed away on Friday, July 10, 2020, at Oakwood Health Campus in Tell City, being counted among the worlds’ COVID-19 pandemic victims.

Life-changing events were to be a chronic experience of Dean’s, yet his life would mark him as a survivor and an advocate for those who happen to live with a behavioral health diagnosis.

Life can be mean. Period. Dean encountered the institutions and individuals who perceived him and tragically, even today, those who live with a functional or access need as different, inferior, and to be forgotten. 

Yet Dean forgave and continued his hope for understanding, acceptance, and love, even as he was abandoned, jailed and exploited.

Please join Dean in his daily prayer that the world will turn from bigotry, hate, and war, that continuity of care, better health outcomes, and inclusion will become normal for the disabled community. 

Through Dean’s legacy, we know we must continue to advocate for freedom from exclusion, that the wellness recovery practices of recreation (thank you Spencer County ARC and Special Olympics), volunteerism (thank you Lincoln Pioneer Village and Museum and Americorps), and travel (thank you Trips, Inc. and the gift of peer support from other travelers with developmental and intellectual disabilities) as pathways to whole health. Dean’s wish was for all to incorporate these most positive life style measures into their lives and to always encourage others in their wellness recovery.

From Michelle (Davis) Owens and Stephen and Jennifer (Byerly) Head, we thank the Spencer County Public Library, the Spencer County Circuit Court, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and its certified Recovery Specialist Program, Key Consumers, the Indiana Governors’ Council for People with Disabilities, and its Partners in Policy making training, the Spencer County Council on Aging, the Spencer County Christian Resource Center, and his many, many cheerleaders, all so Dean, and through his example, they came to give him and others the gifts of inclusion, wellness recovery, support, and always, hope. 

A graveside service was held at 12 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Rockport. Boultinghouse Funeral Home in Rockport was entrusted with care.

Donations will be humbly and gratefully accepted at Boultinghouse Funeral Home, 527 Main Street, Rockport, Indiana 47635, Friends of the Lincoln Pioneer Village disability engagement project at LincolnPioneerVillage.com, and Trips, Inc. traveler assistance program at tripsinc.com.

Friends may leave a condolence at www.BoultinghouseFuneralHome.com.

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