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Roy Wayne Hampton
Sept. 16, 1945 -Nov. 19, 2019
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Resident of Cupertino, California 

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Roy traveled with his sister Donna Jean and their parents, Mary Iva and Wayne R. Hampton, to Turlock, California, in 1952. Roy graduated from Turlock High School with honors. In 1968, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from San Jose State University. In 1971, Roy earned a teaching credential and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. 

After graduation, Roy began a career at NASA where his passion for space exploration and engineering excellence made a tremendous impact on flight safety. Over his 37 years supporting NASA he made critical contributions to many projects both at Ames Research Center and for the entire Space Agency. These included design and evaluation of many complex mechanisms in the Ames wind tunnel test facilities, safety analysis of many NASA aircraft platforms, and critical work for the centrifuge rotor project for the International Space Station. 

Throughout, Roy’s aim was always to ensure astronaut safety. He became an internationally known expert in the science and application of fracture mechanics, developing and implementing many of the fracture control methods and standards that are used by NASA today. Roy was awarded the Silver Snoopy for astronaut safety, an award which is given directly by NASA astronauts to individuals who have performed outstanding work in support of human spaceflight. 

Even after retirement, Roy was dedicated to contributing to his field. He continued to lend his expertise as a fracture mechanics expert, helping his colleagues, and working as an independent contractor up until his death. 

In addition to his work at NASA, Roy managed an RV storage lot and the renting of two buildings in Modesto. Roy strove to treat his customers with care and fairness, and to deliver service beyond expectations. 

Roy met his wife, Yvonne F. Lopez, on a Sierra Club backpacking trip in Klamath, CA in 1971. They married in August of 1973. Together they purchased a home in Cupertino, where they raised their three children, Summer, Sierra, and Bryce. Throughout their marriage of 46+ years they fell in love over and over again. 

Roy was a gentle spirit, known for his generosity and empathy, which were guided by his strong principles. His concern for the astronauts’ welfare, who place their lives in the hands of the engineers, drove the intense precision of his work at NASA. He expressed love for his family and friends through the attention to detail he took towards keeping them safe. When he saw a family stranded by the roadside, he was the one who stopped to help with repairs and a little cash. He was always willing to share his knowledge, whether coaching a colleague through a tough challenge, helping his son build a computer, or tutoring a grandchild in basic division.

Roy was the heart of his family. The trips he carefully planned were a highlight for his family. Roy loved nature, music, art, and intricate craftsmanship. He was always happy to explore a trail, zoo, or museum, or to attend musical performances with his family and friends. He loved classic movies. 

Roy is survived by his wife, Yvonne F. Hampton, their three children, six grandchildren, his sister Donna and her husband Mike Wagner, and his extended family. Roy’s family and friends are celebrating his life privately.