Garrett Ray
1936 - 2018
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Garrett Wilson Ray, award-winning Colorado newspaperman and journalism professor, died 17 December 2018, at his home in Littleton CO, after a dozen years with Parkinson's disease. Ray's journalism career spanned five decades and brought recognition and awards, notably Hall of Fame inductions from the Denver Press Club and the Colorado Press Association; the Eugene Cervi award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and earlier, ISWNE's Golden Quill award. He was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a Congressional Fellow in Washington, D.C., and won Journalism Educator of the Year and Keeper of the Flame awards from the Colorado Society for Professional Journalists. His formal training was at the University of Colorado (BA), Colorado State University (MA) and University of Cardiff in Wales (PhD). Born in Greeley CO in 1936 to Lew and Elizabeth Ray, his journalistic career began at age 11, when he, two siblings and some neighborhood pals produced a summer Neighborhood News. He grew up in Greeley, in high school meeting Nina Anderson, who became his wife and life-long partner. He loved Nina, family, clear writing, travel photography, hiking, American folk music and chocolate chip cookies. In 1961 he went to work for the Littleton CO Independent and Arapahoe Herald, weekly papers that he later co-owned, published and edited. He and his partner sold the papers in 1981, after which Ray began a new career teaching media ethics and courses in writing, editing and management at CSU in Fort Collins. In 2001 he retired and he and Nina focused on traveling, volunteering for church and civic causes and enjoying visits with siblings and grandchildren. As Parkinson's-related difficulties progressed, they relocated in 2009 to the Wind Crest retirement community in Littleton. He is survived by his wife, Nina J. Ray; son Benjamin Douglas (Lynne Paris) Ray of Denver; son-in-law Rod Harding of Marion, IA; grandchildren Dylan, Olivia, Isabella and Henderson Ray; Hannah and Sam Buchenau; Bailey and Tage Harding; Alexandra Harding; brother Tom (Helen) Ray of Sechelt, B.C. Canada; and sister Genevieve Ray of York, PA. He was predeceased by two daughters, infant Jane Louise and Sarah Elizabeth. A celebration of life service will be held December 30 at 2 p.m., Columbine United Church, 6375 South Platte Canyon Rd, Littleton CO. A celebration of life service will be held December 30 at 2 p.m., Columbine United Church, 6375 South Platte Canyon Rd, Littleton CO. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Garrett Ray Scholarship Fund, c/o ISWNE, Missouri Southern State University, 3950 E. Newman Rd., Joplin MO 64801-1595, or to help place a park bench in Garrett's honor, donate on line to South Suburban Parks & Recreation: go to to fill out a donor form.

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Published in Denver Post from Dec. 20 to Dec. 28, 2018.
Celebration of Life
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Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
December 28, 2018
My sincere condolences to the family may you find comfort in the God of all comfort during this difficult time.
December 27, 2018
As journalism department chair, I was privileged to be instrumental in attracting Garrett Ray to Colorado State University. When he retired in 2001 I was invited to describe his development as a professor. At that time I was serving as vice chancellor for academic affairs of the CSU System, but I had followed his work since leaving the department in 1990.

Here is an excerpt from my talk about this remarkable man. In re-reading it this week I decided I would not change a word.

Garrett came to university teaching after two decades of community newspaper editing and publishing. He has always been keenly sensitive to ethics questions in journalism, especially as they affect newspapers, and was a key figure in the Littleton Press Council. As regular contributor to Publisher's Auxiliary and Grassroots Editor, as instructor in various American Press Institute seminars, and as director of mid-career seminars for regional professionals, he has helped shape professionals' attitudes toward ethics. As editor and publisher of the Littleton Independent, and as former president of the Colorado Press Association, he knew every editor in the state, and they knew and respected him. I'm sure you've noticed that he has a way of attracting high quality people. It was not long before Marty Tharp joined the faculty, and a little later, David Morrissey. And now the people who have come in the past half-dozen years.

Student evaluations of his teaching quickly became the highest in the department. Within three years the students named him outstanding professor in the department. He amassed and presented a wide array of current professional developments for discussion in his news writing and media ethics classes. When IBM, thanks to longtime cultivation by Don Zimmerman and others, gave us a world class desktop publishing laboratory, there was one problem. Few of us were more than a couple of years away from typewriters, scissors and rubber cement. I used to see Garrett, long after class was over, sitting at the computer mastering the intricacies of Page Maker. He was not the only one of us scrambling to stay 30 minutes ahead of those bright young folks who were kind enough to pretend we were teaching them how to use computers in journalism, but he was certainly the most diligent.

Garrett matched his excellent performance as a classroom teacher with an unusually high visibility program of service and training for newspaper editors and reporters. That was the Gannett Program, which, along with the well prepared graduates we were sending out year after year to take their places among Colorado's and the nation's journalists, did more than anything at that time to build the department's reputation. But he took his thoughtful presentations off the campus as well, to professional media groups, and he critiqued many annual state press association writing contests. For several years after Dan Lattimore left, Garrett directed the annual Colorado High School Press Association newspaper and yearbook workshops, held on this campus for student editors and publications advisers from Colorado and adjoining states, sometimes even from Florida and other far places.

Always eager to learn, he took leave from CSU to earn his Ph.D. from a leading British university, the University of Wales at Cardiff. For his doctoral project he studied the British community newspaper, or parish pump as he called it, detailing the challenges confronting small town papers in Wales, England and Scotland. This gave him powerful insight by contrast into U.S. community newspapers.

He was one of the first professors in the college, and I think was the first in the department, to teach one of the new freshman seminars the College of Liberal Arts initiated to show the world that a large research university could also be interested in freshman development.

To this day I don't know why Garrett chose the moment he did to go into teaching. I do know he always wanted to at some point. But why just then? I only know that from the first minute he arrived on campus, we quit worrying about the future of news ed. It was a lucky day for CSU, Garrett, and for your colleagues then and to be, and for your students, especially the students.

You know that we all wish you and Nina the very best as you start the next stage of your adventures. And whoever the people are who will be your colleagues, they are going to be very lucky. Thank you for everything you have done, and may God bless you!
David Clark
December 26, 2018
May Almighty God and his son Jesus Christ bless and comfort your family in this time of sorrow. John 17:3
December 22, 2018
Garrett was a pillar of integrity, ethical pursuit of the facts and of what is right in the world... Garrett was a wonderful Professor of mine when I was part of the Technical Journalism program at Colorado State in the early 1990's.
His example of getting the facts in an upstanding, hard-nosed fashion while maintaining an upstanding example of yourself as a Professional Journalist was something that all of his students have also taken to their hearts as they've made their ways into adulthood and in their careers.
You are and will be MISSED tremendously, Garrett -- thank you for EVERYTHING you stood for and always will be as a Instructor and (even MORE) as a PERSON!!!
-- Michael ESQUIVEL
December 21, 2018
Please accept my heart felt sympathy for the loss of your loved one. When someone we love falls asleep in death the memories we have of them become our treasure, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends and may those cherished memories of a life well lived and Gods promise at John 6:40 ease the pain of your grief during this difficult time.
December 21, 2018
Garrett taught me journalism ethics at CSU that I use every day in my work. Such a sweet, gentle, kind man who stood up for the right things and passed on his wisdom. Condolences to his family; he will be sorely missed.
Cindy Hopko Malone
December 20, 2018
As a student at CSU, Garrett taught me ethics that still guide my daily work. He will always be among my favorite teachers, and I'm so grateful to have shared a bit of time with him and to have learned so much within that time. He was a special person and exceptional professor. Sharing my deepest condolences.
December 20, 2018
Please accept my sincere condolences dear family and friends. May prayers strengthen you and memories comfort you. And may you find hope and comfort in God our Father, who loves us, comfort your hearts and "make you firm". (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17).
December 20, 2018
There is so much sorrow in the world. But the death of our loved ones brings the deepest sorrow of all. May God's love and mercy, help you through this difficult time. Psalm 94:14.
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