RAYMOND ACKERMAN

Obituary
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August 7, 1922 - October 17, 2012 OKLAHOMA CITY Ray Ackerman died peacefully early in the morning on October 17, 2012. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA on August 7, 1922, and moved to OKC in 1947 after five years in the U.S. Navy with last duty as a fighter pilot. Following five years as an advertising salesman with The Daily Oklahoman, while earning a degree at night at Oklahoma City University (OCU), he joined a staff of four at the George W. Knox Advertising Agency, now Ackerman McQueen.Ray married Lucille Frances Flanagan of OKC in 1948, and they have six living children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandson. In 1954, he bought the agency from Mr. Knox, and in the early 1970s, he was joined by the father-and-son team of Marvin and Angus McQueen. The agency grew, handling local and major accounts such as the National Rifle Association, Daisy Air Rifles, Nocona Boots, Resistol Hats, Food and Wines of France, Droste Chocolates, Pizza Hut, Sheraton Hotels. Ray retired from active leadership and became Chairman Emeritus of the agency in 1992.Ray was President of the OKC Ad Club in 1954, received its Distinguished Service Award in 1964, and was honored with the AAF Silver Medal Award in 1982. He served as President of the Southwest Council of 4A's, as a member of the 4A's Board of Directors and its Committee on Government Relations. In 1974-75, he served as International President of Worldwide Partners, In 2008, he was one of the inaugural class of eight elected to the AAF's Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame.After five years of active duty in the Navy, he spent 30 more years in the Naval Reserve, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral. He commanded both a Jet Fighter Squadron and the Air Wing Staff at Dallas Naval Air Station. He served as State President and National Director of the Navy League and as National President for two years, 1969-71, of the Naval Reserve Association. In 2007, he was awarded the George Washington Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.Ray has a long history of public service in OKC, having served as general chairman, president, or a board member of the following: National Finals Rodeo, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Allied Arts, Kirkpatrick Museum Center, St. Anthony Hospital Foundation, Better Business Bureau, Salvation Army, Science Museum of Oklahoma and Rotary Club 29 and many others.For 20-plus years, Ray served on the Board of Trustees of OCU, was honored with the University's School of Business Outstanding Award in 1964, as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1991, and with an honorary PhD in Commercial Science in 1996. Ackerman is listed in "Who's Who in America."Ray was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in '93 and into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor in '98. He has been honored with many lifetime achievement awards and in 2003, was selected as a "Father of the Year" by the OKC American Diabetes Association. In 2004, Ray and his wife Lou were selected by the OK Health Center Foundation as Oklahoma "Living Treasures for Tomorrow."Ray served on the Board of Directors of LSB Inc 1992-2011. In 1993, the Greater OKC Chamber established the Ray Ackerman Award and in 2004, the United Way of Central Oklahoma established the Ray Ackerman Leadership Award.The Governor's Art Award was presented to Ray in 2000, primarily as the co-visionary of the world's longest sculpture of the Run of 1889. The 45 heroic-sized figures now reside along the Bricktown Canal.In 1964, Ray wrote "Tomorrow Belongs to Oklahoma," a review of the State's exciting past and promising future. In 2003, the Oklahoma Heritage Association published his biography, "Old Man River." The title was given him by the OKC Chamber for his development of the North Canadian River and the Bricktown canal, two of the nine venues in the Chamber's "Vision of a New Frontier." This plan was renamed MAPS by the mayor, and in '93, voters passed a five-year 1 cent sales tax to fund it. After an 11-year effort led by Ackerman, the Legislature renamed seven miles of the river through OKC as the Oklahoma River, signed into law by the governor on May 21, 2004.Ray was a member of St. Eugene Catholic Church, the Fortune Club, Rotary Club 29 and Quail Creek Golf & Country Club. On April 20, 2012, a statue of Ray in Regatta Park was dedicated to him as "Old Man River," the visionary of the Oklahoma River and the Bricktown Canal.Ray was preceded in death by: his father, Charles Raymond Ackerman, and his mother, Teresa Jane Grasinger Ackerman, of Oklahoma City; his brother, David Karl Ackerman, of Bethesda, MD; a sister, Catherine "Kit" Winkler and her husband, William F., of Oklahoma City; and a daughter, Beth Ackerman.Ray is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lucille "Lou" Frances Flanagan Ackerman, of the home; daughter and husband, Patricia Ann and Mike Mehring, of Redmond, WA; and grandson, Jason Phillip Conley and wife Jennifer and great-grandson, Trent Conley, of Bradenton, FL; daughter and husband, Ann Carol and Ron Adams and granddaughter, Elizabeth Veronica "Evie" Adams, of Dallas, TX; son, Rev. Ray K. Ackerman, of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City; daughter and husband, Susan Marie and Douglas Fuller and grandchildren, Alexander Douglas and Alyssa Marie "Lissy" Fuller, of Oklahoma City; son and wife, Mark and Deanna Ackerman and grandchildren, Raymond Bryan and Samantha Riley Ackerman, of Oklahoma City; daughter, Amy Lou Ackerman Shaver and grandchildren, Sophie Elizabeth, Lucy Bernadette, Henry Maximilian, Annie Clare and Lily Therese Shaver, of Oklahoma City; sister, Mary Frances Veeck, Chicago; sister-in-law, Marjorie Ackerman, Bethesda, MD; and numerous nieces and nephews.On June 14, 2012, Ray and Lou celebrated 64 glorious years of marriage.A Prayer Vigil for the deceased will be held Sunday evening, October 21 at 7 p.m. at St. Eugene Catholic Church, 2400 W. Hefner Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73120. The following Monday morning, October 22, 2012, a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m., also at St. Eugene. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested for the new Church at St. Eugene or the United Way of Metro Oklahoma. To view Ray's complete obituary, visit www.smithandkernke.com

Published in The Oklahoman from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21, 2012
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