Ray Ross Summersgill passed away on Monday, January 13, 2020, at the age of 99 in Albuquerque, NM. A lifelong New Mexico resident, Ray was born on December 31, 1920 in Roswell. Ray joined the Army in 1939, and in 1942 married his wife, Betty Jo Fales, while serving at Fort Knox. Upon his discharge in 1945, Ray and Betty Jo moved to Roswell where their daughter, Rebecca Rae, was born in 1947. Ray opened an electronics repair shop in 1945. In 1948 he closed the business to become the Chief Engineer at Roswell’s KSWS radio station, which later became KSWS TV and Radio, the first TV station in southeastern New Mexico. He was responsible for maintaining operation of the transmitter and antennas on the 1610-foot tower on the Cap Rock east of Roswell -- the highest in the world at that time. In 1958 the family moved to Alamogordo and then to Las Cruces where Ray worked for 28 years as an Electronics Engineer for Lockheed at White Sands Missile Range. Ray was passionate about his radio and television days, joyously reminisced about them, and continued to enjoy his amateur radio life as a ham operator for over 60 years under call sign W5HMS.
He and Betty Jo enjoyed Sunday School, were dedicated mall walkers, and traveled and spent time with family in their retirement. Ray and Betty Jo had been married for 62 years upon her death in 2003.
Ray is survived by granddaughter, Leah Welty (Assmus) and husband, Richard, and great-grandsons, Evan and Henry, of Chicago; granddaughter, Sonya Welty, of Albuquerque; son-in-law, Wayne Welty and wife, Drena, of Albuquerque; niece, Mellanie Fike, of Rolesville, NC; brother, James Summersgill and wife, Dixie, of Roswell; and brother, Paul Summersgill and wife, Mary, of Midland, TX.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Jo; daughter, Rebecca Rae Welty; sister, Elizabeth Shores; and brothers, Steven Summersgill and John (Bud) Summersgill.
Pastor Heike of University United Methodist Church will conduct Graveside Services on Saturday, January 25, 2020, 10:00 a.m., at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 5140 W. Picacho Avenue, Las Cruces, to celebrate a life well lived. The family gives special thanks to Heartland Hospice and Palmilla Senior Living Care in Albuquerque for the exceptional care they bestowed upon Ray. Remembrances, if desired, should be donated to University United Methodist Church in Ray’s name.
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