Raymond James Geraci, former Highland Park Mayor and CBS sportscaster, died May 2nd of the Covid 19 virus. He was 91 years old. A lifelong Highland Parker, graduating from Immaculate Conception grammar school, Highland Park High School, and Lake Forest College. He is survived by his wife Ann (nee Smith), and sons Marc (Sally) Geraci, Ray Geraci Jr, and daughter Laura (Billy) Cline. Loving grandfather to Jeffrey, Justin, Jayce Sorrentino, Jaime (Rob) Fuller and Lucas Geraci. Great grandfather to Brooklyn, Dominic, and Giovanni Sorrentino, Emma and Trey Fuller, and Emily Sorrentino. While at Lake Forest College, he initiated the building of an on-campus radio station. He started his professional broadcasting career with WEEF radio in Highland Park and broadcasted the Highland Park High School football and basketball games in the early 1960's.
After graduating from Lake Forest College, Geraci joined the Chicago Cardinals Football Club in 1951 as Public Relations Director, until the team moved to St. Louis in 1961. When the Cardinals played out of Comiskey Park, Ray is credited with creating the first NFL play by play sheets for the visiting press. He worked with the Cardinals when the NFL had only 12 teams and didn't have the benefit of the television revenues it has today. He did the research on players and provided player evaluations in preparation for the draft. Without the technology available today, including internet access to videos and live games, evaluations were made by traveling the country and working long nights to compile the notes and grade players accordingly. He had a lifelong friendship with Stormy Bidwill who assumed the Presidency of the Chicago Cardinals in 1963. According to Bidwill, Ray was known for his work ethic, creativity, and skill set, but he was admired as a caring, thoughtful man and a great friend. He rejoined the Cardinals Football organization in 1966 as part of the broadcasting team with Jay Randolph on KMOX, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis. He became the voice of the Cardinals in 1968. For the next four years, CBS radio used him extensively to broadcast end of season play-off games. He reached the pinnacle of radio sports broadcasting as the play by play announcer for Super Bowl VI in New Orleans in 1972. He served as the Advertising and Public Relations Director of Anixter Brothers, Inc., from 1975 to 1997. A popular figure, he was elected Commissioner of the Highland Park Park's Board, and then to City Council and won election as Mayor (twice). He originated YEA, a Highland Park non-profit benefiting youth, education and arts. He presided over the acquisition of Fort Sheridan from the Department of Defense and oversaw development of the base. In lieu of flowers, contributions are gratefully appreciated to Immaculate Conception Highland Park, and/or Big Shoulders Chicago or the charity of your choice
. Funeral arrangements pending, (Kelley & Spalding Funeral Home in Highland Park).
Published by Chicago Tribune from May 10 to May 14, 2020.