Raymond James “Ray” Negstad
Raymond James “Ray” Negstad, age 84, of Newark, DE, passed away on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, at home with his family by his side.
Born in Portland, Oregon, he was the son of the late James H. Negstad and Doris (Altgilbers) Negstad Kampy, and the step-son of John Kampy. Ray graduated from Benson Polytechnical High School in Portland in 1955. On his 18th birthday he joined the U.S Air Force, where he further developed his aviation skills that began his passion for airplanes. Following his discharge, he continued working in aviation for the next 50 years. He spent many years working as an avionics specialist with various aircraft maintenance companies in Portland, Columbus, Ohio and Charleston, West Virginia.
The McJunkin Company in Charleston, who owned an Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) business jet recommended Ray to IAI as their new Avionics Engineer. IAI was the largest employer in Israel with offices in Tel Aviv and New York City. A whole new world opened for Ray in 1978 when he became an employee. He was their first Avionics person and they had airplanes all over the world. Ray traveled all five continents but miraculously could eventually repair many airplanes over the phone, he diagnosed the problem and could guide the folks with the plane on how to get them flying again. Ray loved his job!
In the spring of 1977, Ray and his daughter Darcy attended their first Parents Without Partners (PWP) picnic. They met Ann and her daughter Lisa, while playing softball. A monumental day, as Ray and Ann eventually fell in love and married in June 1978. Within two weeks, they were moving to Delaware for Ray’s new job. Eventually, seven of their eight teenaged children also became part of the Delaware crew.
Ray and his wife were Junior High Youth Group leaders for 10 years, followed by 18 years working with High Schoolers in the Presbyterian Church. Besides meeting weekly, they also planned and participated in 18 Mission Work Camps.
Ray also served on the Board of Directors of his Civic Association as president and treasurer. He was also a great supporter of Friendship House in Wilmington, DE.
In addition to his parents, Ray was preceded in death by his step-sons, Larry Michael Smith, Stephen Mark Smith and Phillip David Smith Sr. Hs is survived by his wife, Ann Morgan Smith Negstad; daughters, Cheryl Lynn Summers, Darcy Lea Negstad, Melanie Jo Negstad, Alicia Marie Negstad, and Tanika Lea Hart; step-children, James Maxwell Smith (Chet) and Lisa Beth Smith Lloyd (Tim);14 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for family and friends will be held at 10 am on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE. A memorial service for Ray and his step-son, Larry Michael Smith (who died on November 28, 2022) will be held at 10 am on March 11, 2023, in the chapel at Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, 5233 Rocky Fork Road, Cross Lanes, WV 25313, where they both will be interred.