Obituary: Dennis William Blay

Dedicated and loyal husband, father, engineer

Dennis Blay, 84, died August 17 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center of a subdural hematoma suffered from a fall at home. He had been a resident of Claremont since 1964.

Dennis was born to Frederick and Bernice Blay on July 13, 1939 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and raised in New Baltimore, Michigan. He graduated from Anchor Bay High School in 1957, and in 1959 graduated magna cum laude with an associate degree in science from Port Huron Junior College. He was awarded a regents scholarship and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1962. He met his future wife, Kristin Ann Marin, while at the university, and they were married in Cheboygan, Michigan following graduation.

He was recruited to work for General Dynamics in Pomona as an electrical engineer, and the couple relocated there in March 1962. He would spend 32 years at General Dynamics, working in weapon systems analysis, physics and infrared, and advanced technology groups. He earned an engineering and management program certificate from UCLA in 1981.

Much of his experience was in the development of infrared and ultraviolet guided missiles for the U.S. Army and Navy. Over the years he received many work-related commendations and presented numerous classified technical papers to the U.S. Department of Defense Infrared Information Symposium on target signatures, his area of expertise. He received the Bill Goodell Memorial Award for dedicated service to IRIS in 1990. He took early retirement in July 1994 as manager of the applied research group when the Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga operations were relocated to Tucson, Arizona following acquisition by the Hughes Missile Systems Company.

In addition to being a respected engineer, he was involved in the community, active in the Claremont Little League and the Claremont American Youth Soccer Organization as coach, referee, division commissioner and assistant regional commissioner. He received the Maylath Coaches Award in 1976 and the Baskett Award, Claremont Region Three’s outstanding service award, in 1982.

The Blays built a pool in their backyard and furnished their enclosed patio with a ping pong table and pool table. Rounding out the patio was a huge picnic table he built to fit his children and their friends. Many summer days were spent around that picnic table telling stories and enjoying pop from the outdoor refrigerator.

He was a dog lover and enjoyed having pets his entire life. Walking his dogs was a big part of his retirement, providing some good exercise and allowing him to connect with neighbors.

While he traveled extensively during his career, he also enjoyed exploring the world with his family in retirement. Notable trips with his children and grandchildren included Hawaii, Alaska, and the Mediterranean. Other international highlights were visits to Russia, Israel, Egypt, and Sweden. He was a hobby photographer and always had a camera around his neck. He also found time to help friends and neighbors with odd jobs and projects.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kristin Ann Blay of Claremont; son Michael Blay of Claremont; daughter Laura Clark of Moraga, California; daughter Debra Holmes of San Diego, California; sister, Diane Logie of Mt. Clemens, Michigan; granddaughters Kelli Grandy, Kourtney Moss, and Hannah Clark; and great-grandchildren Ryker and Kenzlie Moss, and Parker and Ella Grandy.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 16 in Claremont United Church of Christ’s Kingman Chapel, where he was a member since 1965. Interment will be in the church’s Henderson Family Memorial Garden.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his name to Claremont United Church of Christ at, or the Upland Animal Shelter at


Submit a Comment

Share This