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Roberta (Shockley) Ray

January 1, 1941 ~ December 30, 2018 (age 77)
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Roberta Shockley Ray, of Wilmington, Delaware, died at home December 30, 2018 after a long illness. She was 77. She is survived by her beloved partner of 30 years, Jeanne A. Dunn of Wilmington, and a sister, Marilyn Stephenson (Steve) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is mourned by her chosen family, James A. Dunn (Michelle) of Grants Pass, Oregon, Patricia Harris (David) of Louisville, Kentucky, and Thomas H. Dunn (Theresa) of Dover, Delaware. Among her nieces and nephews she had a special friendship with Rachel and Derek Simmonsen of Baltimore, Maryland.

Roberta was born in Seattle in 1941. She knew little about her family history until she began to study genealogy. She was interested to discover that she is descended from the Shockley family who settled Southern Delaware and Maryland in the latter part of the seventeenth century. When she moved to Delaware, she moved home.

Roberta received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Oregon in 1970. After working as a Research Associate at the Oregon Research Institute, she was Assistant Professor and Director of the Psychology Research and Training Clinic, Department of Psychology at the University Of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1978 she accepted the position of Director of the Child Study Center, Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. During her academic career she authored or co-authored many publications in the field of child psychology, including work in family therapy and behavior modification.

In 1988, she accepted the position of Deputy Director of the State of Delaware’s Division of Child Mental Health Services and was largely instrumental in the development of the continuum of mental health and substance abuse services available to children and youth through the state of Delaware today. After her retirement, she was active with the League of Women Voters and particularly enjoyed registering people to vote and attending ceremonies for new American citizens.

Roberta’s friends speak of her as being extremely complex.  She was very intelligent and accomplished professionally but she loved long conversations with friends, art and music. She loved to cook and to entertain. One point of pride was the fact that she won the first ever pie baking contest at the Coverdale Farm CSA potluck dinner. Roberta loved traveling and seeing ancient monuments such as the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids and temples. She will be greatly missed by the many people who experienced her genuine warmth and kindness.

A ceremony celebrating Roberta’s life will be at Doherty Funeral Home on 3200 Limestone Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19808 on Saturday, January 19 at 11:00 AM. There will be a short visitation preceding the service at 10:00 AM.

In lieu of flowers the family would welcome donations in Roberta’s memory to The Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, PO Box 1467, Wilmington, DE 19899 or to Delaware Hospice, 16 Polly Drummond Center, Floor 2, Newark, DE 19711.

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