Garrett Wilson Ray, award-winning Colorado newspaperman and journalism professor, died Dec. 17, at his home in Littleton, 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 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 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 Colorado State University 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 at 2 p.m. Dec. 30 at Columbine United Church, 6375 South Platte Canyon Rd, Littleton. firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 online to South Suburban Parks & Recreation to fill out a donor form.