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Dr. Willis Ray Gregg 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 to aviation.

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 others.

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.

[Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 26, June, 1945. P. 241.]
[Weather Bureau Topics and Personnel, August 1938]

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