William Yates Fray

Fledgling EBs Introduced to Society Old-Timers

     From the Secretary of the Early Birds there comes to Chirp a series of thumbnail sketches of some of the new members, taken into the organization since the last issue of this infamous sheet.
     William Fray, of Mirror, Alberta, soloed about June 29, 1914 and holds Aero Club of America certificate No. 306 of that year. Floyd Smith soloed him in a pusher at Griffith Park, Los Angeles, July 12, 1914. Fray is with the Canadian National Railway. Greetings.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

       William Y. Fray of Kelowna, B. C., Canada died July 1, 1968 and was buried July 14th in the Lake View Memorial Gardens in that city. At his request his Early Bird 50 year plaque is attached to his grave marker.
     He was born January 27, 1882 at Prairie Hill, Missouri. He moved west with his parents to Grangeville, Idaho, where he graduated from High School. At the age of 18 he went to work for the Northern Pacific Railway. He worked for them until 1906 when he moved to Canada and was employed by the Canadian National Railway until his retirement in 1947.
     At Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the summer of 1913 he met Glenn L. Martin, who was making exhibition flights and immediately arranged to enroll in the Martin School of Aviation with J. Floyd Smith as instructor. In the class were two other pupils, Lawrence W. Brown and Hilder Smith. Fray made his first solo flight on June 4, 1914 and on July 12, 1914 qualified for his FAI license number 306.
     He returned to Canada when war was declared in August 1914 and offered his services to the Royal Air Force in England. Since he was not of British birth they could not accept him. Railroad operation being vital to the war, he was asked to remain with the Canadian National.
     He was married at Mirror, Alberta, in 1927 to Blanche Viola Clark. They had one son, William Fray, Jr.
     Upon retirement, Fray moved to Kelowna, B. C. He was survived by his wife, Blanche Clark Fray and a son, William Y. Fray, Jr., who lives in Seattle, Wash.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, January, 1969, Number 75
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