Georgia Dray, a junior in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences, died on March 27. She was 21. Her family remembers her as being compassionate, loving, athletic and having a deep passion for psychology, her intended major.
Given the name Li Tao at birth, Dray was born in the Guangxi province in China, according to her mother, Sherry Dray. She was adopted and brought to the United States in 2001 when she was 14 months old.
Her daughter’s passion for psychology started at a very young age, Sherry Dray said.
“I can remember her being very inquisitive about how the brain worked, and when we took trips anywhere, we usually ended up at a bookstore and she would come out of one with some psychological textbook,” Sherry Dray said.
As a child and teenager, Georgia Dray enjoyed playing checkers and became an accomplished archer and musician. She loved spending time with her family. Together, they went on vacations to Europe, cruises, hiked and camped, trying new foods and restaurants throughout. She was also an animal lover who adored her dogs Bella and Buddy.
Georgia Dray had a “sarcastic sense of humor,” Sherry Dray said, and made her laugh a lot with her funny observations and comments. She recalled a memory when their family visited the top of the Eiffel Tower and Georgia Dray tried champagne for the first time.
“She took a sip and of course at the top of the Eiffel Tower, they charge you way more than what it’s worth,” Dray said. “She felt so bad because she had a sip or two and said ‘I really don’t like it.’ We kind of laughed and told her it was okay. It was just for the experience.”
Despite it being a difficult and lengthy process, Georgia Dray started searching for her biological family at the age of 15, Sherry Dray said. She added Georgia Dray hoped to have children of her own one day in hopes of having a biological connection with members of her family.
“She didn’t know any of her background. Every time we went to the doctor, when they asked ‘Do you have any history of X, Y and Z in the family?’ She just didn’t know,” Dray said.
Sherry Dray said she will continue searching for Georgia Dray’s biological family on her behalf.
Georgia Dray is survived by her mother and father — Sherry Dray and Richard Dray II of Raynham — her brothers — Richard Dray III and John Dray of Shrewsbury — her grandparents — Jeanne Dray and Richard Dray of Stoughton and Victoria Jensen-Bender of New Jersey — as well as several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Celebration of Georgia Dray’s life was held on April 1 and guests were encouraged to donate in her memory to DNAConnect.org or the Nanching Project to assist Chinese adoptees and birth families reunite.
“Georgia was, and remains our world. She was my life’s greatest blessing and I miss her terribly,” Dray later wrote in an email. “I think her message was to love passionately and be kind to one another.”
BU Parents United — a Facebook group for parents of students at BU — is working toward building a memorial garden for Georgia Dray in the backyard of her family’s home.
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