January 19, 1947 – April 4, 2021
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In loving memory of Linda Mary Raya “She gave us dreams worth chasing”
Linda Mary Raya passed from this life on April 4th, 2021 with her family at her side. Linda was truly blessed that God was with her in her 11-year fight with cancer and brought her home to Him on Easter Sunday. It is almost impossible to express in words what Linda meant to so many people. To her family, especially her devoted husband of 52 years, Linda was our “Queen”, and will remain in our hearts forever. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt—she played each of these roles with perfect love, even at the end of her journey.
She was born on January 19th, 1947, in Iowa City, Iowa to Walter and Eleanor Brown. In her early childhood years, she lived in New York and Massachusetts with her military family, but did most of her growing up in San Antonio, Texas. She attended Incarnate Word High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree and teaching certificate in English, Speech, and Drama in 1968 from the University of the Incarnate Word.
In May of 1969, she married Albert, the love of her life, and moved to New York where she taught English at Long Beach High School. She left in 1970 when her first child, Nicholas, was born and returned the next year as a homebound teacher.
Linda and Al returned to Texas in 1971, where Linda began to work towards her Master’s degree at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. She later completed her requirements at North Texas State University in Denton. In 1973, Linda became a part of the Highland Park Independent School District, and remained active in various capacities until she died.
Linda’s family was complete with the birth of her son Anthony in May of 1979. Although she received many honors in her life, Linda considered her family her greatest achievement. More than words can say, Albert will miss his “Queen”, Nick and Tony (Anne-Eliese) their “Mom”, Dash, Landry, and Ava their “Grammy”, her sister Deborah (Donnie) and brother Mark (Diane) the “best sister ever” and fifteen nieces and nephews their “Aunt Linda”. Each of us will remember her with love and know that her spirit will always be with us. Linda was preceded in death by her parents and her older sister Carole. She was also blessed to have another family very near and dear to her heart—her Highland Park community. She called Highland Park High School her “home for 47 years, and to her, there was no place like “home”. She was always there, even scheduling her chemo appointments so she could get back to school in the afternoon, never complaining, always cheerful. First and foremost, Linda was a teacher. Her philosophy was simple-- she wanted to pass on to as many students as she could her love of the theater. She was named HPHS Teacher of the Year in 1982 and received a Texas Excellence Award for Outstanding Teachers in 2003. As “Mama Drama” for almost 50 years, one of her students wrote that she “never yelled or got hysterical”-- she “just calmly worked wonders”. She received letters every year from her graduating seniors, thanking her for not only teaching them drama but teaching them about life.
In her almost 50 years at Highland Park High School, Linda served on numerous committees and sponsored many student activities. One particularly close to her heart was the HiLites, where she taught her girls the importance of serving others less fortunate, not only in their school, but in the Dallas community. She served as the high school Fine Arts Department Chair for many years, and went on to become the Fine Arts Coordinator for the entire district. She founded and sponsored HP Arts, which is dedicated to encouraging student interest and participation in the arts. For many years, she served as the director of La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas Gala, which provides funds for community beneficiaries. For her dedication, the “Linda Raya Stage” now sits at the front of the high school auditorium. She will remain “the director” for years to come!
The family would like to express our deepest gratitude to Dr. Bijal Modi and the entire staff at Texas Health Oncology, Linda’s hospice team and all of her home care aides, and to all of the friends and former students who supported her with their phone calls, letters, visits, and prayers.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Friday, April 16, 2021
Friday, April 16, 2021
April 14, 2021
May she enjoy, for eternity, all the shared memories of joy she gave us all.
April 13, 2021
So many of us owe our heartfelt love of the theater, our professional careers, and even much of the happiness in our personal lives to Linda. When she taught us the great works from the dramatic canon, she simultaneously taught us how to live richly and fully. Like so many of her students, I consider her a second Mom. She's gone, but her legacy will influence generations. The memory of her will always make my heart smile.
April 8, 2021
To Al and Family,
Linda was the best to the food service staff and to my decreased husband, Charles. As much as she cared for the students, she also cared for my staff
She will inspire us to be a better person
Love you all dearly
HPHS Food Service
April 8, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
Everlasting be her memory,
April 7, 2021
Linda Raya you were simply The Best... Funny, friendly, caring and cared for by so many of us in the class of '79. Your kind spirit and supportive words meant so much each and every day as we would gather outside your classroom to share a joke, a story or simply a hug. You taught me so much -- both on and off the stage, and had such an influence on my life that I pursued a theater degree in college, broadcast journalism as a grad student and TV News as my profession. You gave me the confidence to swing for the fences, and the understanding that there are no mistakes -- only lessons! Rest in peace, dear one-- I love the idea that you are sharing space in heaven with our dear friend Drew Spies!
With gratitude and love,
Chris Alexander, Class of 1979
April 7, 2021
A life well-lived is all we can ask. Linda Raya lived her life well, and in the process, touched the lives of so many others, including my own. Generations of students learned from her, and many of those today pass on that learning to yet more generations. I was privileged to know her for many years, sharing happy times. May God grant us all the strength to grieve her passing; a strength she displayed so often toward others. Always giving, Linda remains a shining example as one who shared her talents with others in the hope what she imparted would make their lives more complete. With love and admiration,