In Memoriam: Roy Walters, Ph.D.

In Memoriam: Roy Walters, Ph.D.

We are saddened to report the passing of Dr. Roy Walters, one of the founders of Ocean Optics and a key contributor to the development of the company’s pioneering compact spectrometers. Roy died on March 30, 2023, in Driggs, Idaho. He was 81.

Along with the company’s first president Mike Morris and two other Florida researchers, Dr. Walters founded Ocean Optics in 1989. Before his retirement in 2006, Roy developed several revolutionary devices such as the “world’s first miniature fiber optic spectrometer” and a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) system partially funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. His work promoting the company included exciting applications such as helping to study the optical properties of the Hope Diamond, part of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

Note: In his retirement, Roy spent time at homes in Idaho and Florida. An event commemorating his life will be held on Saturday, May 27, 2023, from 4-8 p.m. at the Enterprise Museum in Enterprise, Fla. Roy was a passionate preservationist and key benefactor of the land where the museum is located.

Image: Roy Walters and Mike Morris prepare to deploy the spectrometer that helped to launch a new approach to spectroscopy.

Prior to Ocean Optics, Roy was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Communication Sciences at the College of Engineering of the University of Central Florida. He authored nearly 50 publications, including one book, and received the prestigious Photonics Spectra Circle of Excellence award (now known as the Prism Award) in 1993 for his work on the S1000 miniature spectrometer.

Image: In 2005, Dr. Walters collaborated with scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory, Penn State University and the Smithsonian Institution to analyze the Hope Diamond and other gems in the museum’s collection.

Roy was very active in his retirement, splitting his time between homes in Driggs, Idaho, and Enterprise, Florida. He loved outdoor sports and was an avid bicyclist, hiker, kayaker and skier. Roy also traveled extensively with his wife, Sandy, and was a volunteer for several local organizations in both Driggs and Enterprise. (Learn about Roy’s support of preservation in Enterprise.)

Roy is survived by his wife, Sandra Walters, and sons Jason Walters and Alan Walters.

The entire Ocean Insight team extends its condolences to the Walters family.

Additional details are available in this obituary from the Teton Valley News