Olive Rogers Braley
1899 - 1993
Olive Braley and her husband, Brad, household names to listeners of the Voice of Prophecy broadcasts in the middle decades of the 20th Century, were known for their duets on organ and piano. While Brad was the organist and accompanist for the VOP for nearly nineteen years, she was known for both her musical assistance and her gift for giving readings.
Olive Braley was born in rural Alabama on November 20, 1899, and grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was captain of the women's basketball team and head cheerleader at the high school she attended. During those years her gifts in speaking and music became apparent.
She completed a B.A. in speech at Atlantic Union College in the late 1930s and then taught both music and speech at Southern Junior College, now Southern Adventist University. While she was at SJC, Brad Braley came to the campus to install a Wurlitzer pipe organ that had been removed from a theater in Boston. A courtship ensued and they married in December 1944.
At the end of the school year they moved to Atlanta, where they lived for two years. From 1947 to 1949, they played organ and piano in evangelistic meetings in the St. Louis area and then moved to La Grange, Illinois, where they taught at Broadview Academy until 1955, when they were hired by the VOP. While teaching at BA, they both studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
In their work with the VOP, they traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and Europe. They recorded several albums for Chapel Records and were part of what was known as the VOP "B" group which included Del Delker and H.M.S. Richards, Jr. They and the "A" group, H.M.S. Richards and the King's Heralds, each traveled over 12,000 miles each summer, performing on behalf of the VOP at camp meetings.
When at home, they attended the Eagle Rock Adventist Church in Los Angeles, California, where both played their instruments, and she conducted the choir for twelve years. They also operated the Braley Music studio in Glendale, where they gave private lessons in organ, voice, piano, organ, and speech. They frequently played for weddings and other church functions, including the Church's General Conference Sessions, for which Brad was the organist for many years.
She was active in community life, serving three terms as president of the Community Concert Association, a service for which she was honored. She also served two terms as president of the Seventh-day Adventist Music and Arts Guild and as a judge on its scholarship program. She was a frequent master of ceremonies for banquets and other events, was an adjudicator in music festivals, and presented numerous programs as a humorist and reader.
She and her husband were members of the American Guild of Organists and the International Platform Association. She was listed in the 1973-75 edition of the World Who's Who for Women. They were living in Glendale when he died in February 1992 at age 86, and she died four months later June 18, at age 92.
Sources: Eldyn Karr, “ Their Romance Began with a Theater Organ,” the Voice of Prophecy News, December, 1986; sketch by Ray Glendrange, given at the time of Olive Braley's death; tribute given by Del Delker at the memorial service for Brad Braley; additional materials provided by the VOP (2005); Social Security Death Index..