Dr. David C. Pray was born in a small town on a river that he would love his entire life, where people worked with their hands to forge metal, to make a living for their families. The town was East Jordan, the river was the Jordan, and on April 11, 1918, the second of three sons, David Carroll Pray, was born to Charles H. and Eva B. (Boulard) Pray. He played and swam and camped along that river with his brothers and friends and learned to fish trout and guide flatboats down the winding curves and currents. He knew the river like the back of his hand and earned money for college as a river guide working for Teddy Kotowich. He would guide people down the river, help them catch trout, clean them, cook them and eat them on the riverbank – a real-life Huckleberry Finn. He developed the principles that would guide how he lived his life: responsibility, integrity, honesty, dedication, hard work, compassion for others, respect for nature, and a belief in God, and he followed these principals throughout his life. David lived in East Jordan his whole life. He graduated from East Jordan High School, Michigan State and the University of Michigan, where he learned to forge metal with his hands. And like his father before him, became a dentist and served the East Jordan community by caring for their teeth. He practiced dentistry for 40 years.

He served in the United States Navy during World War II and retired after 20 years as a United States Naval Reserve Commander. He was a civic leader, mayor, accurate historian, proud Rotarian, Shriner and member of the First Presbyterian Church. He was also a founder of the Jordan River Watershed Commission. In 1972, the Jordan River was the first of Michigan's rivers to be designated Wild and Scenic under Michigan's Natural Rivers Act of 1970. Today, The Friends of the Jordan River continue the critical work of protecting the Jordan River Watershed that was begun by the visionaries of the Jordan River Watershed Commission. On June 5, 1948, in East Jordan, he married Rennie Sue Savage and together they had three daughters, Ellen, Anne and Jinny. He had twin grandsons whom he dearly loved and who were the joy of his life. He shared his wonderful stories, sense of humor, and instilled his love of nature and birds and the river and the Earth with his family, and he will be deeply missed. David died at his home on July 12, 2004, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. David Pray was a wonderful son, brother, friend, husband, father and grandfather. His legacy will live on as long as the Jordan River flows wild and clean and free.