was born on a farm on
January 4, 1880, at Phoenix, New York [a descendant of James Gregg
of Ayrshire, Scotland, who went to Ireland in 1690 and to America
in 1718]. He received a B.A. degree from Cornell University in
1903 and an honorary Sc.D. from Norwich University in 1937. He
entered the Weather Bureau in 1904, serving three years at field
stations, seven years in upper air research at Mt. Weather Observatory
and seventeen years as head of the Aerological Division in Washington.
He was a member of the Smithsonian Expedition to Mt. Whitney (1914),
meteorological adviser for the trans-Atlantic flight of the NC
seaplanes of the Navy (Newfoundland 1919) and for the visit of
the British dirigible R 34 (Mineola, N.Y. 1919). After the passage
of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 he made many airway surveys and
laid the foundation for the Weather Bureau's expanding service
Dr. Gregg's wide experience, boundless industry, even temper,
and constant belief in the future of the weather service, well
fitted him for the important position of Chief of the Weather
Bureau to which he was appointed on January 31, 1934. During
his administration of Weather Bureau affairs, recommendations
of the Science Advisory Board were sought and put into effect.
Air mass methods of weather analysis, six-hourly maps and additional
upper air sounding stations for the improvement of weather forecasts
were established as the result of his efforts.
Many technical articles were written by him, but his two best
works were a monograph, "Aerological Survey of the United States
1922 and 1926, and the book "Aeronautical Meteorology" 1925,
second edition, 1930.
Dr. Gregg died Sept. 14, 1938, while President of the Society
and Chief of the Bureau. -- D. M. Little.
It is with profound sorrw that announcement is made of the
death of Dr. Willis Ray Gregg, Chief of the Weather Bureau,
on September 14, 1938. His death occurred at Chicago, Ill.,
where he had been in attendance at an aviation conference called
by the Air Transport Association of America, at which members
of the recently organized Civil Aeronautics Authority were present.
Dr. Gregg entered the Government service on March 1, 1904,
as an assistant observer in the Weather Bureau, at Grand Rapids,
Mich. After a service of nearly 3 years at that station and
at Cheyenne, Wyo., he was reassigned to duty at Mount Weather,
Va., which was the headquarters of the research activities of
the Weather Bureau. There he remained for 7 years, where he
did outstanding pioneer work in explorations of the upper atmosphere
by means of kites.
Because of his accomplishments at Mount Weather, Dr. Gregg
was brought to the Central Office at Washington in November
1914 as Assistant Chief of the newly organized Aerological Section
( now Aerological Division ). In 1917 he was made chief of that
division and served continuously in that position until his
appointment as Chief of the Weather Bureau on January 31, 1934.
It was in recognition of his scientific abilities, his international
standing as a meteorologist, especially in the field of aerology,
as well as his qualifications as an administrator, that the
President appointed him to the chiefship of the Weather Bureau,
made vacant by the retirement of Dr. Charles F. Marvin.
During his service, prior to becoming Chief of the Weather
Bureau, Dr. Gregg was the recipient of a number of important
and responsible assignments, among them being ( 1914 ) Meteorological
Observer to the Smithsonian Expedition to Mount Whitney; ( 1919
) Special Meteorological Advisor at Trepassy, Newfoundland,
for the trans-Atlantic flight of the NC seaplanes of the U.
S. Navy; also, he served in a similar capacity as the adviser
at Mineola, N. Y., on the occasion of the visit of the British
dirigible R 34 to New York in 1919.
Dr. Gregg was a frequent contributor to publications on meteorological
and aviation subjects and he was the author of two monographs
under the title of "Aerological Survey of the United States,"
and of a book, now in its second edition, titled "Aeronautical
Meteorology." At the time of his death he represented the Weather
Bureau on numerous national and international committees, boards,
and commissions. Among these are the National Advisory Committee
for Aeronautics, of which he was chairman of the executive committee
and of the Subcommittee on Meteorological Problems; and the
International Meteorological Organization and several commissions
thereof, being president of the Commission on Projections for
Meteorological Charts and of Regional Commission IV. The latter
is composed of directors of the meteorological services of Central
and North America and the West Indies. He was also a member
of the International Ice Observation Service and the Ice Patrol
Service; proposed Airplane Observational Program ( chairman
), Coordination of Meteorological Service for Aeronautics; and
the Daniel Guggenheim Committee on Aeronautical Meteorology.
Dr. Gregg earned a B. A. degree at Cornell and was awarded
an honorary degree of ScD. by Norwich University. He was a member
of a number of scientific societies and organizations, including
the American Meteorological Society ( fellow and president at
the time of his death ), American Association for the Advancement
of Science ( fellow ); Royal Meteorological Society ( fellow
); Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, Inc. ( fellow );
National Aeronautic Society; American Geophysical Society, and
Dr. Gregg was born January 4, 1880, at Phoenix, N. Y., and
was married in 1914 to Mary C. Wall of Berryville, Va., who,
with one daughter, survives him.