Ray was born in Fort Valley, Georgia, and graduated from Crawford County High School in Roberta, Georgia, in 1944. He then served in the United States Navy during World War II, from 1944 to 1946. After the war, Ray was a farmer and local businessman before serving as mayor of Perry, Georgia, from 1964 to 1970. During that time Sam Nunn was city attorney, and after Nunn's election to the United States Senate in 1972, Ray became Nunn's administrative assistant.
After the 1990 Census, Georgia picked up a congressional district. Despite this, the Democratic-controlled Georgia General Assembly, seeing a chance to get rid of Newt Gingrich, dismantled his old 6th District and shifted much of the southern portion of Gingrich's old territory into Ray's Columbus-based district. However, the new territory was considerably more urban and Republican than Ray's old territory. Ray lost to Republican state senator Mac Collins, a resident of the former Gingrich territory, by almost 10 points.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Jack Thomas Brinkley
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 3rd congressional district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993