Dr. Roger Perkins Gray, Jr.

Published 1:07 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

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Dr. Roger Perkins Gray, Jr. peacefully passed away on September 29, 2023 after battling several health issues.

Dr. Gray was born on May 15, 1936 in Astoria, New York. He received his high school diploma from North Davidson High School in Welcome, North Carolina in June, 1954. Roger enlisted in the United States Navy in July, 1954 and was honorably discharged in May, 1959 as Petty Officer 1st Class (E-6). In September, 1959, he entered North Carolina State University using the G.I. Bill. He was awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1963 and in August, 1964 he received the Master of Electrical Engineering Degree.

The first three years of Dr. Gray’s graduate education were supported by a Ford Foundation Engineering Fellowship. In addition, he taught part-time in the Department of Electrical Engineering, serving as a Teaching Assistant during 1953 through 1966.  He taught full time as an Instructor from December, 1966 through January, 1969. Roger was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1969.

Roger started in the Antenna Design Group of Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1969 and retired in 2008. He was a primary contributor to the development of Electronic Scanned Array (ESA) technology. In the 1970’s he created the software to control the thousands of radiation elements in a passive ESA.  This involved changing and controlling only the phase of each radiating element.  At this time computer memory was very small and this advancement was state of the art. In the 1980’s and 1990’s this evolved into active arrays which required control of the amplitude and phase of each radiating element.  Roger’s work was a major factor in Westinghouse being considered the industry leader in advanced radar design and development.  Beyond all of the technical accomplishments, Roger’s character showed brightly.  His friends described him as the most humble and lowest ego person you could ever hope to meet in your life.

Roger was married for 63 years to the former Lyda Mann Bishop, of Belhaven, North Carolina. They lived in Sykesville, Maryland until retirement when they returned to Belhaven with their oldest son Chip.  “Mr. Roger” was a neighborhood tutor, a loyal friend and never wanted the spotlight.  He was an avid tennis player in his earlier years, but enjoyed playing golf with many great partners at Bayview Golf Club in his retirement years.

Roger is survived by his wife as well as daughter Melissa Gray Scarbrough (Michael) of Cornelius, North Carolina; son Steve Bishop Gray (Jen) of Damascus, Maryland; grandsons Jacob and Connor, granddaughters Hannah, Kylie and Sadie.

He is predeceased by his son Chip, by only 3 weeks.  He also leaves behind sisters- and brothers-in-law and many nephews and nieces who adored him.

Roger was a quiet, shy man with a gentle smile and quick wit.  He was a devoted family man, beloved father and Pop extraordinaire. He will be greatly missed by all.

Graveside services will be held on October 21, 2023, 3:00 in the afternoon at the Belhaven Community Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.paulfuneralhome.com.

Paul Funeral Home of Belhaven is honored to serve the Gray family.