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Obituary Condolences

ATHEY, Roy Lee

Roy Lee Athey died peacefully in his sleep December 18, 2013. He was born May 1, 1923 in South Pekin, Illinois to Roscoe Franklin and Laura Elizabeth (Fears) Athey. Roy excelled in sports at South Pekin grade school and Pekin High School, setting records in track and basketball. He joined the US Navy December 8, 1941, one day after Pearl Harbor. He was sent to Great Lakes for basic training; San Diego, California to aviation ordinance school; Norfolk, Virginia into a Transitional Training Squadron Atlantic; Banana River Naval Air Station, Cocoa Beach, Florida, patrolling the Caribbean for German subs. This was where he met the love of his life, Geraldine Farrar Johnston. They were married in Cocoa, Florida on June 6, 1943. Roy was honorably discharged from the Navy as Aviation Chief Ordinance man in 1945. He attended University of Florida, Gainesville, from 1946 through 1948. Roy then worked in the research lab at Caterpillar Tractor Company, East Peoria, Illinois, where he became interested in the chemistry of metal. Roy went back to school at University of Illinois, graduating with honors as a metallurgical engineer in 1953. The best offer was working for General Electric in Cincinnati, Ohio and he was quickly promoted into management. Roy's greatest desire was to spend his life in Florida. The opportunity came June 30, 1961 and no one loved his job more at Pratt-Whitney than he did developing powder metallurgy, several high temperature alloys and his crowning achievement named Gatorizing, for which United Technologies built a plant in Columbus, Georgia, to produce it. For this, Roy received the George Mead Award, which is the highest award given by United Technologies Corporation. Roy's passions outside of his wife and career were fishing , boating, golf and family. He fished from Alaska to Key West as well as Canada; golfing whenever and wherever he could; boating in the intercoastal waterway and the Keys. He loved his entire family, but was content to just be with his best friend, soul mate and wife of seventy years, Jeri. He was predeceased by daughter April Annette (Athey) Staples, great-grandson Merrick Marshall Benjamin, parents, sisters; Dona Wolfle, Blanche Meyer, Elma Niepagen and brother Frank Athey. Roy is survived by his wife, Jeri, daughters Laura Lee DaSilva (Joseph) and Robin Elaine Zenga (James), granddaughters Heather Ruth Benjamin (Frank Hernandez) and Mary Elizabeth Dashiell (Lee), grandsons, Zachary James and Dylan James Zenga, great-granddaughters Rowan April and Regan Ann Dashiell, his sister Marilyn Weise and brother Dale Athey (Darlene) and many nieces and nephews. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, but Roy was at his core a devout Christian. He served on the building committee and as a Deacon and an Elder at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Lake Park, Florida, before transferring to First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, Florida. There will be visitation at Howard - Price Funeral Home, 754 US Hwy 1, North Palm Beach 33408 on Sunday, December 29th from 6pm to 8pm. A Celebration of Roy's Life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, with Senior Pastor Walter B. "Lucky" Arnold III officiating on December 30th at 2pm. The family will receive guests in the Fellowship Hall following the service. A second visitation will be held at the Crestview Funeral Home, 1623 Highway 109N, Gallatin, TN 37066 on Friday, January 3, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm. Interment to follow at Crestview Memorial Park on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11am. The family wishes to thank the faithful caretakers who spent so many years being a part of our extended family, especially Anthioda Charles (Charlie) and Rose Labossiere and to thank Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, Florida 33407 for making the last days peaceful during Roy's passing. The family requests in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to First Presbyterian Church, 717 Prosperity Farms Road, North Palm Beach, Florida 33408.

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Published in The Palm Beach Post from Dec. 22 to Dec. 25, 2013
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