Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ray Coffey -The Ear of the Grunt in Vietnam Gave Voice to Truth in Chicago

Ray Coffey covered the Vietnam War for nearly three years in the 1960s, marching through swamps with U.S. soldiers and winning journalism awards in the process. ( from Chicago Sun Times) Click my post title for the tribute to Ray Coffey.

Mr. Ray Coffey was a great friend to the kids of Leo High School for whom he always had time - to listen.

God bless you Holly Coffey! God bless all of your kids! God Bless the heart of Ray Coffey that made his ear the organ and conduit of truth in Chicago Journalism.

Ray Coffey 'gave his ears a chance.' That rule is lost on too many of us who want to hear the sounds of our own voices rather than articulate a means to bring people together. In America's most divisive war - Vietnam - Ray Coffey turned his ears to voices of the kids taking the shots from the enemy and returning their fire. Ray Coffey endured the horrific pounding of General Giap's artillery from hills around Khe Sahn with the Marines, while Brooks Brothers journalists took notes from command sources.

Ray Coffey listened to Ronald Reagan. He listened to Civil Rights Marchers. Coffey listened to cops and firemen. His ears were not the sole property of agendas or or strategic demographic initiatives.

Chicagoans read the thoughts and feelings of people through the pen and the typewriter of Ray Coffey.

Ray Coffey went home to Christ this weekend. He leaves a gaping hole in our hearts, but thick body of writing that accurately reflects our American times.

This is from Governor George Ryan's proclamation of Illinois Ray Coffey Day:

December 30, 1999

Governor Ryan Proclaims December 30, 1999 As Ray Coffey Day

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today congratulated Raymond R. Coffey on 38 years of service in the windy city working on newspaper business and announced that Thursday, December 30, 1999 will be proclaimed as Raymond R. Coffey Day.

"Many have said that Ray Coffey is an indelible name in Chicago journalism and that when you read his columns one hears the voice of Chicago," Ryan said. "To that I will add that the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times newspapers are all the better for having Ray Coffey's name appear on their pages."

At the age of 70 years old, Coffey will end his journalism career after working as a columnist and editorial board member at the Chicago Sun-Times from 1987 through 1999. Most of his newspaper days were spent with the Chicago Daily News from 1961 to 1978. Before signing on with the Sun-Times, Coffey began working at the Tribune in 1978.

Since before Ryan joined government service, the governor noted that Coffey has been reporting on political events and even worked at the UPI bureau in Springfield. Although he grew up in Racine, WI, Coffey adopted Chicago as his hometown and raised his seven children there with his wife, Holly.

"I consider it an honor to be able to name a day on behalf of a civic-minded, compassionate journalist like Ray Coffey, " Ryan said. "And I challenge all aspiring journalists to look to Ray for inspiration on how to do it right. To Ray, I want to say thank you. The newspaper business is better today because you were a part of it."

Thank you Ray Coffey!

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