Richard Godfrey Ray, age 101, a longtime resident of Rockville, MD, died on June 28, 2022 from complications of peripheral artery disease and heart and kidney ailments. Dr. Ray was a native of western Massachusetts, raised by a widowed mother who worked factory assembly line jobs to support her children. He graduated from Williams College in 1942, then joined the Department of Geology at Brown University, obtaining a Master's Degree in 1943. He moved to Washington, DC and did geologic mapping of strategic minerals in southeastern Alaska for the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1944 he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was soon assigned to the USS Thornhill, Destroyer Escort 195, with duty in the North Atlantic and later Central Pacific theaters during World War II. Upon his return to the States in 1946, he was transferred to the Office of Naval Petroleum Reserves in Washington, assigned to direct geologic mapping of oil structures on Alaska's North Slope. Upon his discharge from the Navy that year, he rejoined the Geological Survey. He soon met Norma Rapp, a government secretary originally from Ohio who worked at the War Department, on a blind date at Glen Echo Amusement Park. They married in early 1947 and soon moved from Washington to Silver Spring, MD. Together they worked summers in Alaska through 1950, and he spent winters attending The Johns Hopkins University, receiving his Ph.D. in geology and election to the Phi Beta Kappa society in 1950.
Dr. Ray authored numerous technical papers and books on geologic subjects. In 1961 he became Program Director for Geology at the National Science Foundation, a position which he held until his retirement from the Federal Government in 1975. He then joined the Board on Minerals and Energy Resources at the National Academy of Sciences as a staff officer, retiring from that position in 1982.
With a deep interest in the visual arts, Richard devoted much of his leisure time to landscape painting with the Washington Society of Landscape Painters. He had his first featured art show at the American Painting Fine Art gallery in Washington at age 100, and two of his paintings have been accepted into the Smithsonian Institution's Alaskan Art program. He was also an avid duplicate bridge player, and for many years directed local bridge games and travelled internationally for tournaments. He was preceded in death by his loving spouse of 62 years, Norma. He is survived by his son, Dale Ray, of Potomac, MD and his daughter, Jane Ray, of Landusky, MT.
The family will receive friends from 3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. Sunday October 2, 2022 at the Cox Burkitt Funeral Home in Beaver, Ohio. Graveside services and burial will follow in the Beaver Union Cemetery with military honors provided by the American Legion Merritt Post #142 of Waverly.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Richard Godfrey Ray, please visit our floral store.