Ray Hibbs, Jr. was born on 7/8/1938 in Richmond, VA, to loving parents who instilled a lifelong thirst for adventure and knowledge. He enjoyed a highly successful career in the USAF beginning in 1959. During his service, he piloted B-52 bombers, participated in Strategic Air Command runs during the Vietnam War, served time as Deputy Commander in Thule, Greenland, was an Instructor Pilot and earned multiple medals and commendations for his service and bravery. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1980.
Following this, Ray began a civilian career with SAIC and led a team assigned to develop one of the first guidance systems for cruise missiles.
After his retirement from SAIC, he and his wife Annie pursued adventures on the seas. Their joint love of cruises took them all over the world, providing memorable cultural experiences and creating friendships that spanned the globe.
In between cruising to distant shores and visiting friends and family, Ray taught himself the fine art of woodworking. He designed and created numerous ornamental wooden boxes and was known to donate his finest creations at the annual Raleigh N.C. Arboretum charity event.
He was a keen observer and listener with an eye for the details. Known for his quick and dry humor, you could say he used an economy of words. It was rare that he would offer advice but when asked about how to best avoid life's common mistakes he laughed and offered this: ”You’re always gonna make mistakes...the trick is in knowing how to fix ’em.” Always kind, generous, and thoughtful, he and his wife Annie enjoyed the company of friends and family everywhere they lived.
In his final days while speaking of what he described as two incredibly satisfying careers, his love for his beautiful bride Annie, and his family, he chuckled thoughtfully and with a contented smile on his face said, “I’ve lived a good life, an exciting life. Pretty sure no man could say theirs was better than mine.” Unfortunately, no matter how hard they tried, the family never could get him to spill the beans on any “real” UFOs he may have encountered.
Ray Hibbs, Jr. passed away on the evening of August 25, 2020, in the presence of those who loved him. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Annie (Johnson) Hibbs; sister Shirley Patterson, daughters Pam Hibbs(Terry) and Dana Suggs(Willie); son Skip Hibbs (Pam); stepson John Foster(Kristine), 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Habitat for Humanity.
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