Roy C. Edgerton

EDGERTON Colonel ROY C. EDGERTON, U.S. ARMY RESERVE (Ret.) Roy Clarence Edgerton, a retired Army Colonel and retired Director of the Transportation Research Board died on June 12, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Born on March 19, 1914 in Leesville, Louisiana to Harry C. Edgerton and Mary M. Smith Edgerton, Colonel Edgerton graduated from High School in Klamath Falls, Oregon and worked for two years saving money for his education prior to enrolling at Oregon State University (then College) in Corvallis, Oregon in 1934. Following the completion of his sophomore year in 1936, Colonel Edgerton temporarily interrupted his academic studies and began working for the Oregon State Highway Department. Colonel Edgerton was later commissioned in the U. S. Army with the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1940. After attaining the rank of Captain, Colonel Edgerton married the former Shirley Marie Evenson on September 13, 1941 in Lawton, Oklahoma while on assignment as an instructor at the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill. Assigned to the Artillery Division 115 Howitzer Battalion, Colonel Edgerton saw action during World War II in the European theatre of operations, including the "Battle of the Bulge," and was awarded the Purple Heart decoration in April 1945. Rising to the rank of Major, Colonel Edgerton was demobilized from active duty in 1945, but continued service in the U.S. Army Reserves, retiring in 1974 with the rank of Colonel. Returning to Oregon State University in 1946, Colonel Edgerton was graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Civil Engineering on June 7, 1948. Working professionally at the Oregon State Highway Department, Colonel Edgerton served from 1948 - 1962 as the head of the Structural Research Section and later as the Director of the Research Division, earning his Professional Engineering Certification from the State of Oregon on May 6, 1955. In December 1962, Colonel Edgerton began service as the Director for Technical Activities for the Transportation Research Board, an element of the National Academy of the Sciences in Washington, DC, and culminated an extremely successful career by earning the prestigious W. N. Carey, Jr. Distinguished Service Award in 1978 just prior to retirement in 1979. Colonel Edgerton was a life member and past state president (Oregon) of the Reserve Officers Association; a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Tau, and Pi Mu Epsilon honor societies; the Sigma Nu social fraternity, the Traveler's Century Club, the Oregon State University President's Club, the University Club of Washington, DC, St. George's Episcopal Church; and was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Colonel Edgerton visited over 100 foreign countries and all 50 states. He regularly attended operas, was a veracious reader, and a lifelong classical music enthusiast. Enjoying the outdoors, hiking, and vigorous exercise, he played tennis into his eighties (and later, played the Wii© game in his nineties), crediting this active lifestyle as the key to his longevity. Colonel Edgerton was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, after 64 years of marriage and is survived by his niece, Lorraine Brooks of Anchorage, Alaska and his nephews, Robert Bekker of Newark, California and Roderick Evenson of Milwaukie, Oregon. Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery on December 22, 2011 at 1 p.m. Family and friends should gather at the Administration Building by 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations to St. George's Episcopal Church, 915 North Oakland Street, Arlington, VA 22203-1916. 1 p.m. Family and friends should gather at the Administration Building by 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations to St. George's Episcopal Church, 915 North Oakland Street, Arlington, VA 22203-1916.

Published by The Washington Post on Dec. 11, 2011.
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Roy was our neighbor in Arlington, VA. He was 90 when we met. I never met Shirley.

What started as grocery shopping trips together ended up as a wonderful and cherished friendship. He was my best friend and meant the world to me.

He loved to sing and tell jokes. I have him captured on You Tube:,, and (or Google "Col. Roy +You Tube")

When he was ready to move into assisted living, I helped him find a new place to live and moved him. I was there as he grew old, and I held his hand as he died. I loved him and miss him everyday.
Lisa Spencer
December 20, 2011
Remembering Aunt Shirley and Uncle Roy
I got a lump in my throat reading about that first hug when Aunt Shirley and Uncle Roy knew that their love would last forever. Whenever we spent any time with them they shared small admiring vignettes of each other. Aunt Shirley's giggle and Uncle Roy's glowing eyes every time he'd look at her are permanently etched in my heart. My daughter, Dana and son, Nathan both felt that when as young adults they visited them in Arlington.
When Nathan was in the Army (and after he'd turned 21) he stopped in to see them sometime between Kosovo and Iraq deployments. Uncle Roy offered him a Martini and an aperitif before dinner, wine with dinner, Madiera after dinner and a scotch before bed. Nathan did not appreciate his first introduction to gin and scotch but later traveled through Eastern Europe ordering wines in a style Roy would have been proud. Nathan, who as a child did not enjoy traveling, decided he would like to join the 100 country like Uncle Roy. At thirty and with two daughters he's still nurturing that dream of traveling to and living in exotic places.
When I was a child we got together more often. The Edgertons lived in Salem and we lived in McMinnville, Portland and Milwaukie. They lived in a 2 bedroom upstairs apartment in West Salem on Edgewater Street. It is still there. When I was in grade school, Aunt Shirley gave me her clothes from her High School and College days. My mother made them into amazing outfits for me. I had a dark green velvet suit, a green plaid wool vest and pleated skirt, and two amazing wool plaid circle skirts. She must have been as stylish in her youth as she was in her later years. She tried to lend me a wool jacket to go to the symphony in the ‘90's but it was too small for me.
I also remember how passionately they pursued their hobbies. My earliest memories of the “spare room” were walls of Roy's gun collection. He had a green panel truck which he took hunting and camping. One time he took Aunt Shirley on a hunting trip. After seeing the killing of a deer through her eyes, he came home and sold all his guns and never hunted again. They both became avid wilderness backpackers. They hiked into Oregon's first designated Wilderness or Primitive Area, Mt. Jefferson, with the newest equipment including down sleeping bags that stuffed to the size of paper towel rolls. My 10th Christmas, Aunt Shirley (and most probably, Uncle Roy) gave me a chemistry set. She included a tough piece of plastic to protect our kitchen table. The plastic was left over from what she had used to sew onto the seat of Uncle Roy's pants so he could glisade down Mt. Shasta.
In their living room were Aunt Shirley's pump organ and floor loom. She said she was glad to have an engineer to help restring the warp from project to project. She also enjoyed pottery classes and was always excited about the projects she had done. Uncle Roy, meantime, filled the spare room with an enormous collection of Civil War books and memorabilia. Roy was the first person we knew to get a Stereo phonograph (or I should say turntable, amplifier, & speakers). He had those demo records of trains roaring through the living room.
After they moved to Arlington, in the ‘60's, they began their world travels, attending conferences on several continents for his work. Uncle Roy added a large and varied wine collection to his passions. This included a collecting trip to the French Wine country and revisiting WWII sites where he had served in an artillery unit.
The last time I was in Arlington was in the fall of '94 on a family vacation. Roy had given up collecting wine and was disposing of his collection of books on theology which he just finished studying. I spoke to Shirley on 9-11-01 when she still knew me. She had been watching the twin tower news on TV when she heard the explosion outside her window and saw the Pentagon erupting in smoke and flames. Roy was grocery shopping at the PX – it took him three hours to get home. At this time he was still walking three miles a day.
The greatest time of Roy's love and heroism to me was the way he cared for Shirley in her final years. She was wracked with the pain of osteoporosis and the confusion of Alzheimer's as he lovingly and devotedly bathed her, fed her, carried her to the bathroom and put her to bed. He called me when “everything just fell apart” and he had to put her in a care facility. He called again a few days after her passing on Christmas Eve. He spoke of his plan to move to a retirement home in a year or two which apparently he did. We lost track of him for a while. His phone rang and rang but he had no answering machine. Finally Nathan found him on the internet. He and my brother, Rod, called him there. It seems he was never in his room where the phone was rather he was socializing in the common area and playing Wii. I imagine him playing tennis again, the longest continuous joint hobby of their lives.

So happy to have had them in our lives,
Pamela Evenson Hepper
Pamela Hepper
December 12, 2011
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