TAMPA — Todd Bray was a successful businessman, but he wasn't content with that. Family and a social life were just as important to him, and he devoted the same kind of energy to those that he did to his career.
He was one of Tampa's most successful stockbrokers, and he built his career while he was a single father of two children.
He never shied away from hard work and responsibility. But in his off hours, he loved to have a good time, and his gregarious personality put him at the center of Tampa's social circles.
He joined the Rough Riders and before long became that club's president. But he left when he thought the club had grown too big and co-founded the Krewe of Fort Brooke, which quickly reached the membership cap of 100 that he had set. He joined the Elks Club and soon was named Elk of the Year because he brought in so many new members.
Mr. Bray died Oct. 13 of lung cancer. He was 62 years old. He never retired and kept working at Calton & Associates, where he was senior vice president, until shortly before his death.
The obvious phrase to use about someone like Mr. Bray is that he worked hard and played hard.
"That's an understatement," said his longtime best friend, Circuit Judge Rex Barbas. "During the day, from 10 to 4 when the stock market was open, he was intense. He was always on. The nighttime was for him, and he made the most of it."
Barbas said he and Mr. Bray had spent 47 New Year's Eves together.
"We were best friends longer than our combined five marriages lasted," Barbas said.
Mr. Bray was born in Ohio but came to Tampa with his parents. Except for a year in college, he lived the rest of his life in South Tampa.
He played football at Jesuit High School, as both an offensive and defensive lineman, and was named a high school All-American.
He married and divorced very young, and while he was still in his early 20s he gained sole custody of his two young children. It was even more unusual then, in the mid 1970s, than now, for a young man to choose to be a single father.
Mr. Bray and his son and daughter loved the arrangement, and the kids stayed with him until they were ready to go out on their own.
His daughter, Traci Ingram, said even decades later, her friends from high school would tell her that they wished Mr. Bray had been their dad, because the Bray household was so much fun.
But parenting wasn't all about partying.
"We absolutely had rules," Ingram said. "But he was definitely the cool dad. All our friends hung out at our house. His friends did, too."
Besides his daughter, Mr. Bray is survived by his son, Todd Jr., and four grandchildren.
Marty Clear writes life stories about Tampa residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at [email protected]