“Whatever there is to find”

My father passed away Saturday morning, September 7, 2013, around 5:15.

The Saturday before was the last time we spoke.  His hands were reaching for something I could not see, as if he was encountering an invisible world.  I asked him what he was looking for. With no hesitation he replied in perfect peace…

“Whatever there is to find”

Those were his last words. He lived quietly another seven days and then, when no one was around, he slipped away to explore another world.

Charles Ray Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 6, 1911. That’s right.  He lived 101 ½ years. His “resume” from a century of learning, living, and loving to share with others includes:

  • Met my mom-to-be, Charlotte Pfeiffer, in the third grade 1920
  • Quit public school in the eighth grade 1925.  Went to prep school 1931
  • Graduated West Nottingham Academy High School, Maryland 1933
  • Graduated Lafayette College, AB Biology, Easton, Pennsylvania 1937
    • Worked at YMCA for room.  Served Faculty Club for food
    • Won four-year scholarship. Varsity wrestling team. SAE fraternity.
    • Married the only girl he ever dated – Charlotte Pfeiffer – 1937
    • Graduated University of Virginia, PhD in Biology-Genetics 1941
      • Research Fellow at Blandy Experimental Farm
      • Member of Raven Society
      • Flax research geneticist for Ecusta Mills 1941 to 1951
        • Established research programs with universities across country
        • Promoted to research director
        • Studied in New York at Rabinovitch Photography Gallery 1951-1952.
        • One-Man Show photographic exhibition of plants
  • Professor at Emory University Biology Department, Atlanta 1952-1980
    • Taught genetics, bacteriology, cytology and botany
    • Co-authored Biology textbook 1960, 1965
    • Established photo lab for Biology department
    • Awarded outstanding teacher of the year by Association of Southeastern Biologists
    • Researched protozoology at Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, MA
    • Studied math, computer science, biometry, German, Spanish
    • Received a National Science Foundation Grant for Computer-Based Genetics Lab
    • Chaired Biology Department
    •  “Retired” in 1980
  • Visiting Professor Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Equador in 1980. Taught Population Genetics in Spanish.
  • Traveled and enjoyed life with mom.  Photographed, painted, played music, volunteered at YMCA and Library; and continued independent studies of computer and mathematical applications to the field of population genetics.
  • After three years of reading and studying the Bible, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord in 2003.
  • After nearly 69 years of marriage, Charlotte passed away in 2006.  My dad moved with us to be closer to more family in Charlotte in 2007.
  • Moved into Legacy Heights Senior Living Community in 2011 with his books, reader and computer, still reading, studying and exploring.

Over the past couple of months, he has been under Hospice care, the last 2-3 weeks with noticeable decline.  Last Saturday early in the morning, my father passed peacefully into the presence of God.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  I imagine my father is still discovering whatever there is to find.

We are God’s masterpiece
Created in Christ Jesus for
Good works, which God
Prepared beforehand
For us to walk in
Ephesians 2:10

Blessings, Brian Ray, September 10, 2013

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