Lillian Glezen Wray


Dec. 9, 1913 – Aug. 4, 2013

Lillian Glezen Wray was a beloved mother, grandmother, wife, friend and pilot. She was known to many as “Jay” as well as Nanny Duke and Grandma Turtle.  She died of natural causes at her Burbank home on Aug. 4 just four months shy of her 100th birthday. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.

Jay was born in Gilmer, Tex. on Dec. 9, 1913. She was the youngest of 11 and a true tomboy. She attended Gilmer High School where she excelled in tennis. She went on to attend Texas Tech where she had a bet with one of her sisters that if she earned a B in math she would get to ride in a small plane. From then on she was hooked.

After the start of WWII, she worked on a B25 assembly line to get money for her pilot’s license. In 1944, she became a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) and ferried planes between U.S. air bases to free up more men to fight overseas. Her WASP friends remained close ever since.

Jay attended countless reunions all over the country and in 2010 she, along with her entire family, gathered with other WASPs in Washington, D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1947, she met her husband Johnston Wray in Salt Lake City where they were both air traffic controllers for the FAA.

They successfully raised three sons: John, Gordon, and Dan. Jay was also a proud grandparent of her six grandchildren: Jaisha, Karleen, Cody, Morgan, Danny Jr. and Gordon. Her wry sense of humor and her love of Angels baseball kept us smiling.

Proud of her independence, she lived alone up until the last month of her life with the companionship of her beloved beagle, Duke, and her dedicated cat Tiger Sue.

Jay had a sense of adventure and was most proud of the progress the WASPs made for women’s equality.

She is looking down at us from the heavens that beckoned her as a young woman to become a pilot. Jay will live always in the hearts and lives of her family and all those she has touched.