Alfred McRay Hedgepeth, 98, born August 25, 1921, to the late Alexander and Blanch Hedgepeth in Nash County,NC, passed away January 30, 2020. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Frances Padgett Hedgepeth.

After high school Ray entered trade school to learn a skill in working with sheet metal. After completion of this training, Ray began his career at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY). His time there was interrupted by WWII. Ray served his country, with honors, in the Army Air Corps (in the Pacific Theater).

After the war Ray returned home to Portsmouth, VA, where he and his bride began their lives as parents and active members of a growing community of family and friends.

Ray was, for the most part, a self-educated man.  He was widely read on many subjects.  Some of these subjects would leave his children cross-eyed after LONG lectures that went on late into the evening/night.  Of course, we children at age 8 or 9, fully understood the “Theory of Critical Thinking”

Ray retired from NNSY, where he plied his skills for 36 years.  Along the way he taught his trade as a certified teacher in the Portsmouth City Night School system as well as the NNSY apprentice program. Ray’s retirement lasted 2 whole days.  Unable to sit still, he went to work at NorShipCo and retired from there after 10 or so years.

His escapes were his garden and LONG hours in his wood-working shop, where he made all manner of items.  Some of these items adorn more than a few of the homes of family and friends.  Oh, he also churned out a “few” gallons of ice cream along the way.  He was a member of the Holy Neck Ruritan Club.

Ray is survived by his children Lewis McRay Hedgepeth (Dolores), April Dianne McClenney and Cindy J. Wallace (Allen); 10 grandchildren, 23 (and one on the way) great grandchildren, and 5 great great grandchildren; a sister, Lorrean Davis and a niece, Jeanette Penland.

Here we offer apologies—there is a host of relatives, past and living, not listed here.  Please know you are not forgotten. Ray will be missed by all that knew him.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 2:30 PM in the Holy Neck Christian Church, 4400 Pine View Road Suffolk, VA 23437. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Holy Neck Christian Church Building Fund, Dad would like that. Condolences may be registered at

Rest in peace, DAD.

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