Francis Adams Pray

Longtime professor, mentor, emeritus professor of biology, and honorary alumnus Francis Adams Pray died on July 20, 2011. He was 86. Pray taught at Cornell from 1957 through 1987, and was particularly well known for educating future doctors. Pray is remembered by former students for his challenging courses— particularly Comparative Anatomy and Embryology—and his detailed lectures. Even more, though, he is remembered for his kindness, quiet empathy and dedication to his students. He served as advisor to hundreds of students in his 30 years at Cornell, and as an unofficial mentor to many more. In addition to teaching, Pray chaired the biology department, and advised foreign students and the Alpha Chi Epsilon social group. Pray and his wife, Edith, were also members of the Society of Friends, which for a time met in their home in Mount Vernon.

Francis Adams Pray
Francis Adams Pray

Pray was born in Indianapolis. He received a B.A. in biology and English literature from Earlham College, an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. From 1951 to 1957, Pray taught biology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

After retiring from teaching, Pray and his wife moved to Sarasota, Fla., where they volunteered at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Since 2004, the couple had lived at Medford Leas, a continuing care retirement community in Medford, N.J. He is survived by his wife, three children, six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at Cornell during in memoriam Homecoming at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Allee Chapel. More than 40 alumni have left comments on Pray’s obituary. You can see their comments and add your own on his Cornell memorial website.