Written by Erren Harter
Ray Call, wow! While Ray and I had conversations from time to time I did not know he was close to passing away. This is a great loss.
Unique is the only way to describe Ray Call. Talk about hearing a different set of drums! Ray holds a major spot in the history of Emporia. He was his own man.
My associations with Ray have taken on many shapes – everything from co-worker (I was the Gazette’s Circulation Manager for a year), to reader, critic, topic, friend, competitor and even co-conspirator a few times.
Thank you to Bobbi Mlynar for her awesome piece in Monday’s Gazette about Ray’s life. It brought back so many memories.
Ray was a newspaper man at a paper buried in tradition with bosses so legendary its mind boggling. He worked for the White’s after all. William Allen White, NO he died with Ray was 12, but his ghost is still there! He did work for W.L. (Bill) White and his wife Kathryn (she may have been the toughest of all) and finally the Walkers.
If you know much about journalism you know that Ray’s job at the Gazette had to be a pressure cooker. When he wrote an editorial it not only had ten thousand or so readers to contend with but THE WHITES!
Ray’s writing to me was legendary. First, he wrote almost every day! Writing opinion pieces once a week in a challenge, but daily is ridiculous! Ray Call not only did this he did it with precise accuracy and on timely topics almost all local in nature.
Bobbi’s article brought good memories about pick up trucks and other controversial subjects he tackled.
Ray Call was fearless. He was not a community booster. Maybe more accurate would be to say he thought of himself as our community’s conscience. He took stances that were not pro business and would ask questions of community leaders in government, at the Chamber, in education, the churches or whoever that often made them uncomfortable. He asked those question most were afraid to ask!
There had to be some serious issues with the Gazette’s advertising department and Ray.
But, in the end Ray was effective in helping his community land on the correct side of most every challenge.
Over the past few years Ray and I had several interesting conversations about many things including the various spats he had had with KVOE over the years.
You fought the good battle my friend, so, now rest in peace. Ray Call had just turned 82.
I’m Steve Sauder