The end of an era

Ray Jutkins died on January 6, 2005.

During the two years Ray Jutkins
fought leukemia, he lived.
In two years of dying, Ray lived more
than many people do during
their entire lives.
He told his story on a special part
of his website, a section called
It IS What's Next.

Hard to miss

If you were in a room with Ray, you knew he was there.

Ray Jutkins was the excitable guy who was running a program co-sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and the US Postal Service in the 1980s. That's when I met him. He was on the podium. And off the podium. From one side of the stage to the other. And he was wearing a checkered shirt that made 42nd and Broadway seem sedate.

So I've known Ray for nearly 20 years. He introduced me to dozens of direct marketing concepts. I introduced him to the Internet.

Ray's story is a remarkable one. The last few years in particular. Ray tells the story himself here and it's a story that's well worth reading.

Ray sent me his "final" e-zine in late December 2004, for transmission when I received an e-mail or a call from Nancy. I should expect that to happen soon, he told me. "I've known you for 20 years or so," I told Ray in my reply, "Nancy for considerably less. Both of you have always impressed me -- and never more so than in the past couple of years. If I ever have to face anything even half as serious as what you have been through, I hope that I can pull it off with at least a third of the grace you have shown."

Ray said that what he and Nancy had done was "nothing special". In our couple of decades of doing things together, Ray and I rarely disagreed and I can't remember ever disagreeing with him about anything serious. Until now. I cannot let him get away with claiming that what he did was "nothing special". If you haven't read his story of what happened yet, go back and click the link that will take you there.

The photo above was taken by Ray's niece, Patty, when everyone left the motel for the moving-day convoy to California, the day after Ray's Live Wake. Ray may no longer be with us physically, but he did not go quietly into the night.

Nothing special?

Ray and Nancy have shown friends, family, and even complete strangers how to deal with death. It's a remarkable person who, when faced with the news from his physicians that he probably has only a few weeks to live, that one of his first thoughts is to have a party. To stage his own wake. That's what Ray did.

And after those few weeks had passed, Nancy and Ray moved to California to spend more time with the family. They traveled. Even when he had an extended bout with double pneumonia, Ray's e-mail messages were always cheerful. He continued to write weekly e-zines for his website. In short, it was life as usual for as long as possible.

I had the great fortune to know Ray and to meet Nancy on a trip to the west when I stopped by their home in Arizona. When Ray held his own wake, I was able to attend and I met his remarkable friends -- Harley riders from Los Angeles, clients and friends from all over the world, neighbors from rural Arizona.

Remembering Ray

Here are the memories that we, his friends and family, have of Ray. Items will be added to the site as they arrive from those who want to share their stories.


Do you have a favorite Ray Jutkins story?

If so, please send it along to and I'll make it part of this website.

With fond memories of Ray and with deep respect for his family.
Site developed by William Blinn Communications • Worthington, Ohio