The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) is mourning the tragic death of Sevgin Oktay, ATAA former New York region vice president, after a fatal car crash near Poughkeepsie, New York on April 30, 2023. He was 88.
Sevgin Oktay was born in Saray, Tekirdağ in Turkey and spent most of his childhood in Safranbolu. He came to the United States in 1955 after graduating from Tarsus American College with high honors. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio and his Masters and Professional Mechanical Engineering Degrees from Columbia University, New York, NY.
After graduation, he joined IBM T.J. Watson Research Laboratories of the International Business Machines Corporation in Yorktown Heights, NY as a research scientist. He had published extensively in scientific and professional journals and books in the areas of heat transfer and computer systems technology.
He has more than 40 published inventions and holds 13 U.S. Patents. During his tenure at IBM, he held various technical and managerial positions ranging from research, development and manufacturing to the Senior Product Program Manager at IBM Headquarters in Somers, NY.
He retired from IBM in 1993. After retirement, Oktay started a second career in the area of Intellectual Property Protection. He became a registered U.S. patent agent and held various patent consultant and advisory positions at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, in Stamford, Connecticut and at White & Case LLP in New York prior to expanding his own business at Oktay Enterprises International, LLC.
Sevgin Oktay was a founding and honorary member of the Society of Turkish American Architects, Engineers and Scientists (MIM), and served as its president in 1994.
He was an elected life fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Oktay was an avid flyer and a flying patent agent. He was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Oktay served on the ATAA Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019. He had created a “StarBook” club at ATAA where members donated books to populate libraries across the United States with books that disseminated unbiased information related to issues that affect Turkish relations in world affairs.
He served as vice president of the World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley. In that position, he was involved with both the World Affairs Councils of America and Turkish Cultural Foundation in sending High School teachers to Turkey and in return their introducing Turkey into their classrooms.
He co-founded a group called “Concerned People To Set The Record Straight,” and an associated website, www.cptstrs.org where he had published thirteen monographs about the Armenian allegations which may be found in the same website along with other resources. He was a principal founder of Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA).
Oktay had been active in local politics and was successful in having a US congressman join the Congressional Turkey Caucus.
Sevgin Oktay is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth, his son, Feza and his grandchildren, Remy and Chloe.
The ATAA Board of Directors and Board of Trustees express their condolences to the Oktay Family and the Turkish American community.
He will be deeply missed.
Assembly of Turkish American Associations