Roland Thomas Mayer was born in 1924 to Louis and Marie Mayer in Hoboken, New Jersey. As a teen he was fascinated by aircraft and he built and flew many model aircraft of his own design. After high school he joined the Army Air Force serving in Guam as a sheet metal mechanic with the 29th Bomber group in WW II. After the war he earned a degree from Villanova University on the GI bill. He was always grateful to the citizens of the United States for giving him the opportunity to study engineering.
While in college he met Anna Catherine (Nancy) Niederriter who became the love of his life. Married in 1950, Ro and Nance lived in Drexel Hill, Broomall, and eventually settled in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They became parents to seven children: Steve, Jan (who died in infancy), Flynn, Jeff, Jill, Beth and Laurie.
Ro initially worked for Piasecki Helicopter with Frank Piasecki, a pioneer in the helicopter industry. During the infancy of the space program, he went to work for General Electric as a Stress and Thermal engineer. He worked on several programs for national security during the cold war and he was promoted to the Chief engineer for the now declassified program "Discoverer." "Discoverer" was considered one of the most successful flight programs in the history of space travel.
Ro retired after 27 Years with GE and started a successful consulting firm which continued until his death. His wife Nancy died in 1985 and he continued to cherish her until his death. He was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, St Monica's Church, and Glen Hardie Country Club. Fellow members knew him as a lover of jazz, a poet and a writer. He played golf, went to shows and enjoyed his friends until he died. He is survived by one brother, six children and eleven grandchildren.