The Life of LeRoy Trice Gravatte
Roy Gravatte, as he was known, was born in Washington, D.C. on July 23, 1936. He passed peacefully at home in Bethany Beach, Delaware on February 15, at the age of 84.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents, Frances Miller Gravatte, Leroy Trice Gravatte, II, and his sister Martha Lu Gravatte. He is survived by his brother, Charles and his wife Frances.
Having grown up in Alexandria, Roy attended G.W. High School, and rowed for the G.W. National Championship Crew Team. From an early age, he spent the summers in Bethany Beach at his family’s vacation home and was a lifeguard for the Bethany Beach Patrol.
After graduating in 1960 from Virginia Tech with a degree in Civil Engineering, Roy served for a time in the Naval Reserve, then worked at the GSA until creating his own engineering firm, Professional Engineers. Later in his career his engineering focus shifted to expert witness work in the Elevator and Escalator industry until retirement in his late 70’s. He was also a licensed Real Estate Broker where he invested in real estate in the DC and Bethany Beach areas.
In 1974, Roy purchased the Addy Sea, an historic oceanfront Bed and Breakfast in Bethany Beach, from the Addy family, founding members of Bethany since 1901. The Addy Sea was his true passion and a symbol of the Gravatte family legacy in Bethany Beach. Through his vision and restoration, it has become a premier destination on the Delaware Coast. It is still being operated by his family.
While in college, Roy married his high school sweetheart Gail Fitzpatrick and together they raised three children in their family home in Springfield, VA.
Roy was a spirited, enthusiastic Virginia Tech Hokie endlessly proud of his alma mater. He loved to fly his Hokie flag and dress in his Hokie apparel. He never missed a Virginia Tech football game and was a season pass holder until 2019.
Roy was a dedicated Rotarian. His home base was The Rotary Club of Alexandria where he volunteered as Santa on King Street each Christmas. He also attended the Rotary Club of Southern Sussex in Delaware, maintaining his 100% attendance, and hosted the eagerly anticipated Christmas Breakfast each year at the Addy Sea. Roy was also a civic leader and was appointed as the President of Orange Hunt Civic Association and he was also elected and served on the Bethany Beach Town Council. He was also a member of the Mason’s as was his father.
Time on the beach, socializing with friends, an annual birthday party, rounds of golf, dips in the ocean, and spending winter months in Florida with his girlfriend of 24 years, Sue Cooley, were Roy’s other favorite pastimes. Attendance at Ocean View Church of Christ as well as the Beach Fellowship in Bethany Beach, and McGregor Baptist Church in Ft. Myers, Florida enhanced his exuberant love of the Lord.
Roy leaves behind his children and their spouses: Trice & Laurel Gravatte, Gini (Gravatte) & Neal Bepko, Jeff & Sherene Gravatte; his grandchildren: Jessica (Ian Loch), Tyler, Meredith, Adam (Allison), Laura, Addy, Jamie, and Sarah; and his two great-grandchildren, Rowan and Carter Loch.
Roy never met a stranger who didn’t become a friend. If asked, “How are you?”, his response was always, “Better than I deserve”.