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Ray T. Chevedden

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December 5, 1911 - October 19, 2013 Ray Thomas Chevedden, 101, of Los Angeles, CA, entered into the peace of eternal life Saturday, October 19, 2013, joining his beloved wife of 57 years, "Ronnie," and his devoted son, Rev. James N. Chevedden, S.J. He leaves behind his loving sons John, Paul, and Michael, and his two grandsons, Jacob and Matthew. Ray was born in Chicago, IL, in 1911 and graduated from Tilden Technical High School when the Great Depression began in 1929. From 1929 to 1936, he worked off and on for A.W. French Co., which made road-building machinery, and later for the Whiting Corp. and the Pullman Co. When work was slack, he did odd jobs, among them designing plans for model airplanes. With his eyes set on a career in aviation, he took night classes in pre-engineering at Central Y.M.C.A. College in downtown Chicago. In 1935, he received his first flying lessons from a barnstormer and earned his pilot's license. In 1938, he won acceptance to Purdue University, where he became president of the Flying Club and studied aeronautical engineering under such luminaries as Prof. Karl D. Wood. After graduating in 1940 with a B.S.M.E. Degree in Mechanical Engineering, he headed for southern California, the heartland of the aircraft industry. During WWII, he worked for Lockheed Corp. and thereafter for other aerospace companies until his retirement in 1979. At Lockheed, he was a field service engineer on the P-38 twin-boom fighter and an engineer on the original design of the P-2 Neptune anti-submarine patrol plane. The Neptune was used many years later in the Cuban missile crisis and is even used today to fight wildfires. At Northrop in the late 1940s, he worked on the original Flying Wing and the F-89 Scorpion, which was designed to intercept Soviet nuclear bombers. At the Radioplane Division of Northrop in the 1950s, he was an engineer on the GAM-67 Crossbow, which in many ways is a precursor of today's cruise missile. At Hughes Tool Company in the early 1960s, he was an engineer on the original design of the Little Bird light observation helicopter. In the mid-1960s, he worked for Douglas Aircraft, first on a wide-body military transport in the C-5 Division, and then on the DC-10 wide-body airliner. In the early 1970s, he joined an engineering group at McDonnell Douglas that designed a physical model proving that noise levels in jet-engine exhaust could be substantially reduced. This breakthrough led directly to today's quieter commercial airliners. In the late 1970s, he returned to Northrop and worked on the F-18 Hornet fighter aircraft program. In retirement, he enjoyed foreign travel with his wife, watching Purdue football, and roughhousing with his grandsons, who dubbed him "PaPa Ray." His pursuit of happiness was fulfilled in a virtuous life centered on family, faith, friends, and the exercise of his engineering skills to the highest standards of excellence. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. on Thurs., 24 October, at St. John Chrysostom Church, 546 East Florence Ave., Inglewood, CA 90301 (tel.: 310-677-2736). Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA 90230 (tel.: 310-836-5500).
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 24, 2013
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