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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Obituary — Roger Gray

Roger Gray was educated at 
Daniel Stewart’s College, where he was Dux, and the University of 
St Andrews, where he studied mathematics. From St Andrews he went straight to a lectureship at 
Heriot-Watt University where his career spanned 43 years.

He was widely recognised as one of the University’s outstanding teachers, not just within Heriot-Watt but also abroad where he 
was the ideal ambassador for the University. His lectures were characterised by a rare ability to communicate his subject with charm and enthusiasm. 
The University recognised this in 2003 when he was awarded the University Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Many readers of The Actuary will have known Roger. Richard Muckart contributed the following tribute for his work for the Profession: “Roger was principal examiner in statistics for 17 years 
to 2010 and remained an examiner at the time of his death. Efficiency should have been Roger’s middle name because he always met deadlines and was normally the first to complete the setting and marking of examinations. He also served the Profession in the role of independent examiner at two of our accredited universities and as an overseas lecturer 
on courses run by the Profession in a number of Eastern European countries. 
In recognition of his work for the Profession, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries in 2006.

He will be sadly missed by all who worked with him in the Profession.” Roger was immensely proud of his Fellowship and had the framed certificate on display in his sitting room. He was also a member of the Scottish Actuaries’ Club where he greatly enjoyed the elegant dining in the Balmoral Hotel and the witty and pointless speeches to the (decimal) Point.

Roger worked hard but he was no workaholic. He had a lifelong 
interest in the arts and classical music. Opera, particularly the works of Wagner, was his great passion. He made two trips to the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth and he never tired of talking of the wonderful time he had on both occasions.

I went to many concerts with him. He was always the ideal companion — informed, enthusiastic, amusing. 
He loved passing comment on his 
fellow concert-goers where his impish sense of humour was often in full flow. His other great interest was travel, with Amsterdam, Budapest and Vienna among his favourite destinations.

One friend of Roger’s recalled: “Roger always maintained that getting an executive room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest was value for money as you didn’t really need to go out and pay for a meal after you’d sampled the late afternoon snacks and had your glass of champagne!”

Roger’s life was particularly rich — 
rich in friends, rich in cultural 
experiences and rich too in professional success. He was a larger-than-life character who will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues within both the University and the Profession.

By Dr Iain Currie