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Appalachian Funeral Services
Thursday July 29th, 2021
1:00pm - 2:00pm

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Celebration of Life Service

Appalachian Funeral Services
Thursday July 29th, 2021

View Details

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Jeffrey Lee Ray

Jeffrey Lee Ray 61, of Sylva, NC passed away on July 26, 2021.

Jeff grew up outside of Nashville, TN and earned a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license while working at R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Gallatin TN.  He then earned his Bachelors and Master degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University, and completed his Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University.  He has served as Dean of Engineering at Western Carolina University since 2014.  Throughout his 28 year academic career, he served in many roles with the ABET and ASEE organizations, and was an ASEE Fellow.

Jeff is survived by his wife Tina Ray, sister-in-law Brenda Johnson, nephew Allen Ray (Jessica), great-niece Hannah Ray, sister-in-law Teresa Holt (Tony), and brother-in-law Thomas Hopkins.  He is preceded in death by his parents Bonnell and June Ray, and brother Michael Ray.

Visitation is from 1:00 – 2:00 pm on Thursday, July 29th, at Appalachian Funeral Home in Sylva, with a Celebration of Life service at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hopkins and Ray Engineering and Technology Endowed Scholarship at Western Carolina University.

Appalachian Funeral Services of Sylva, NC is serving the family.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jeffrey Ray, please visit our flower store.


Tina my condolences. He was always a gentle, soft spoken, and intelligent friend. We had many great times growing up together. I admired Jeff for following his dream and making it happen on his own terms. Myself, his old buddies, and the Gallatin High School of 1978 will miss him.

Mike Brimm Aug 31 2021 12:00 AM

I met Jeff several years ago at an ASEE CIEC conference and then at various ETD events and he even audited our graduate program at IUPUI. I was impressed by his kind and caring demeanor, so much so that I always hoped to relocate to WCU and learn from him about being a better educator and a better human. I extend my deepest condolences.

David Goodman Aug 2 2021 12:00 AM

I am so saddened by the loss of Jeff. I had the privilege of working with him on the ABET Academic Advisory Council. He was so kind and very down to earth. My thoughts and prayers are with Tine and the Ray family. Jeff will be greatly missed.

Beth Mundy Jul 29 2021 12:00 AM

Jeff was a awesome brother in law! He was a loving and caring husband to my sister Tina! We will always treasure our memories of him!

Teri Hopkins Holt Jul 29 2021 12:00 AM

So sorry to hear of Jeff's passing. I enjoyed working with Jeff at GVSU and his exuberant personality will be missed. Thinking of his family and wife at this difficult time.

Joan Visser Jul 29 2021 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. I worked with Jeff for the past several years in ABET and ASEE committees on improving undergraduate engineering education. Jeff was a strong advocate for the student experience and cared deeply about his profession. He was also able to laugh out loud and keep things on track in the midst of frustrating policy debates. He will be missed but his impact will be lasting. May he rest in peace. David Tomasko Ohio State University

David Tomasko Jul 29 2021 12:00 AM

Im so sorry to hear of Dr Rays passing. He was a tremendous asset to WCU and our region. He was a leader who went above and beyond to provide the best opportunities to students and employers. He will me greatly missed. We send our love, thoughts and prayers to his family and WCU.

Nathan Ramsey Jul 29 2021 12:00 AM

Tina, I am so sorry for your loss. Jeff's eyes lit up when he talked about you. After I retired in 2019, Jeff continued to keep in touch. I appreciated that so much. Cherish the memories and lean on friends.

Susan Fouts Jul 28 2021 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Jeffrey Ray

Susan Fouts Jul 28 2021 12:00 AM

I send a memory and so much appreciation for Jeff as a colleague and a really good friend! He partnered with me in my first ABET workshop in China! I am so grateful for his support and his counsel! My heart is broken - he will be missed! Jane

Jane Jul 28 2021 12:00 AM

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