Ray’s Obituary Left Something Out
You might not know his name, Davis "Ray" Sutley but, if you've spent ANY time listening to the radio in Acadiana, you've heard his voice (there's a link to an audio file below that you can click to hear his voice).
Ray's obituary, obviously penned by his wife Justine and daughter Eden, was printed today, and it couldn't be any more awesome. It truly gives tribute to how great a man Ray was. But I couldn't help but notice a few little things the obituary left out.
I've known Ray for more than 20 years, but there were some things in his obit that I didn't know: I didn't know it took him 10 years to get his degree from USL (sounds like he had a blast in college!); I didn't know that he had worked for the university for 40 years (I knew he worked for them but didn't know it was for so long); I didn't know that Eden was his step-daughter (the love and respect he had for her were greater than I've seen from some biological parents).
There are a few things that the obituary doesn't mention that I've known about Ray for a long time: he had a stoic front, but a soft heart. He yelled at you when he wanted you to be better. He yelled at you when he liked you. He yelled at you when he didn't like you. (Or maybe it was just that booming voice. Or my guilty conscience for when I didn't do something right. Maybe we just think he yelled that much.) He wished more people were like his dogs. He never bragged or boasted. He wanted it done right, and made it so. He had a steel trap of a mind when it came to music, especially Classic Rock. He loved his wife and daughter more than life itself (the obituary mentions that, but it's worth repeating). If ever Ray was in a bad mood, you could do one thing to get him out of it that worked EVERY time: ask him about Eden (it would be like hitting a switch). He was the most caring man you'd ever meet, though he'd "I don't give a sh*t" you anytime you tried to tell him something. Ray didn't love money (he WAS in radio, after all), he loved people and getting the job done. He loved colorful language and used it often. He took anyone who needed help under his wing without anyone knowing he did, even the person under his wing (it would take some people a long time to realize how much Ray helped them). Ray's voice was on (I'm guesstimating here) 10-20% of the locally-produced commercials on our radio stations, mainly because he didn't want to bug others to produce commercials ("Give it to me, I'll get the dam*ed thing done"). Hit the "Play" button below - I'll bet you'll recognize his voice:
Ray was not only a co-worker, but he was also an idol: one of the voices that made me fall in love with radio. Ray Sutley, Michael G. Adams and Dave Milner, Jay Walker and Mary Gallyean, Bill Best, Renee Revett, Ronnye O'Neal, Anthony Keith - his name falls among the best in the business.
His work ethic was strong, his voice was golden, his determination was unquestionable, but Ray's greatest asset was his heart, and he used it a lot when he was here with us. He used it so much, God thought it needed a rest.
RIP Rayford, I'll miss you.