Cover photo for Romualdas "Ray" Gruodis's Obituary
Romualdas "Ray" Gruodis Profile Photo

Romualdas "Ray" Gruodis

d. January 22, 2021

Romualdas "Ray" Kestutis Gruodis, of Mount Airy, Maryland, passed away on Friday, January 22, 2021 at the age of 87.

Ray was born in 1933 in Kaunas, Lithuania, and immigrated with his father, mother, and two brothers to the United States when he was 16 years old. He studied physics at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and, at one of the college's dances in 1952, he met his loving wife, Ruth. Ray graduated with a B.S. in Physics and started his career as a research engineer with Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown, Maryland.

In 1956, a year after his graduation, Ray and Ruth married in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He continued his employment with Fairchild, working on defense contracts, rocket technology, and early solar energy. He was the inventor and holder of two patents (one shared) for article collection and article stacking apparatuses.

In the early years of his career, the family moved several times, but in 1968, Ray, Ruth, and their three children settled into their "forever home" on a small farm in Mount Airy. It was here that his children remember their dad sharing his love of Lithuanian food and culture, treating them to plates full of kugelis, evenings making potato pancakes, trips to Baltimore and Chicago for Lithuanian festivals, and, as he was an exceptional dancer, polka dancing around the living room.

After 37 years with Fairchild, culminating in his position as Vice President of Communications Programs, Ray retired at the age of 59. Although Ray and Ruth spent some time traveling, including trips to Lithuania and Ireland, Ray spent most of his retirement doing what he did best...creating. He loved woodworking, spending hours in his workshop creating cabinetry and furniture, and, being a consummate builder, lent his expertise and energy to any family member needing help. His knowledge and generosity was seemingly endless. When he chose to relax, you would find him on his tractor, so, given his physics background and the peace his tractor brought him, his family will name it Ohm.

Ray was a man of great strength and knowledge with the ability to do or learn virtually anything. But more importantly, he was a loving husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, and great grandfather. We knew he always had our backs, and his absence from our lives in this world will be deeply felt. The shoes he leaves behind as Host Extraordinaire of the Gruodis Crab Feasts will be hard to fill.  We love you, our dear father and husband.  Amžina ramybė brangus tėveli (Eternal peace dearest father).

Ray was preceded in death by his father, Joseph, and his mother, Victoria. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his two brothers, Algirdas and his wife Violeta, and Gediminas and his wife Ausra; his son, Joseph and his wife Debbie; his two daughters, Loretta and her husband Steve, and Ruth and her partner Bruce; five grandchildren, Amy and her husband Erik, Trisha and her partner Ben, Sidni and her partner Matt, Erin, and Benjamin; and three great grandchildren, Paisley, Jaxson, and Braeden.

Services will be private. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either Ray's church or his favorite organization for Lithuanian print news:

Saint Peter the Apostle Catholic Church

9190 Church Street

Unionbridge, Maryland



4545 West 63rd Street

Chicago, Illinois


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