Centenarian participates in Mesa rededication — after attending original 1927 dedication

MESA, Arizona — Oakley J Ray, 101, was among a number of longtime Latter-day Saints who attended both the original 1927 dedication of the Mesa Arizona Temple and its Sunday, Dec. 12, rededication.

The Mesa centenarian was featured in an recent Church News article, that included a photo from the 1927 dedication day where he recognized himself as a 7-year-old boy in overalls standing near the front of a large gathering of Church leaders and members on the temple grounds.

“That little boy outside there is me,” he remembers saying after recognizing himself in the photo.

101-year-old Oakley J Ray believes he is the young boy wearing a white shirt and overalls, standing behind a small, palm-like bush near the front on the day the Arizona Temple was dedicated, Oct. 23, 1927.
101-year-old Oakley J Ray believes he is the young boy wearing a white shirt and overalls, standing behind a small, palm-like bush near the front on the day the Arizona Temple was dedicated, Oct. 23, 1927. Credit: Provided by Carol Soelberg

He joined 96-year-old sister Maxine Ray Steiner and children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for family photos beyond the northwest corner of the Mesa temple, near where the 1927 photo had been taken.

Ray’s attendance at Sunday’s rededication was uncertain less than two months ago when he fell at his home and broke his leg, requiring surgery to reset the bone with a stabilizing rod and then hospitalization with COVID-19 pandemic precautions limiting visitors.

Read more about the 101-year-old Mesa man who remembers attending 1927 dedication

Oakley J Ray, 101, poses for a portrait in front of the Mesa Arizona Temple after attending the rededication in Mesa, Arizona, on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Ray also attended the first dedication of the temple 94 years ago.
Oakley J Ray, 101, poses for a portrait in front of the Mesa Arizona Temple after attending the rededication in Mesa, Arizona, on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Ray also attended the first dedication of the temple 94 years ago. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News