KCTS Host/Fundraiser George Ray Dies at 85

  • by: Casey McNerthney, KIRO-TV   


    George Ray, who became one of the best known Northwest television personalities through more than three decades of pledge drives on KCTS, died November 23.

    Ray, who battled other health issues, died weeks after a lymphoma diagnosis, his daughter said. He was 85.

    With his salt-and-pepper hair and mustache, glasses and a familiar baritone, Ray was a reason thousands took his nudge to go to the phones and support KCTS.

    “You’re going to like being a part of quality programming in your phone,” he said during a pledge break in the 1980s. “You are going to like being part of the Channel 9 family, and you’re going to like being able to put input into a station on various programs – whether you like them or dislike them – and you’re going to like the fact that the station is responsive to your likes and dislikes.”

    In his more than 30 years at KCTS, Ray was a driving force for more than $75 million in donations. That helped make Channel 9 the fourth most watched public television station in the United States.

    “He was the person who got people to support KCTS through thick and thin,” colleague Enrique Cerna said Friday. He recalled watching Ray speak at fundraising events in Washington and in Canada, and when he would get up to speak, the audiences would be drawn to him.

    “They would feel connected to him, and they were willing to give money because of him,” Cerna said. “And he had that voice: The smooth, anchor-type voice.

    “He was an institution.”

    Ray, Northwest chef Tom Douglas once said, was to KCTS pledge drives what turkey is to Thanksgiving.



  1. RIP

    Mr. Ray was a Great Host and a huge asset to Public Television.

    I am quite sure he was very instrumental in their successful Fund Raising efforts at KCTS.

    He seemed like a very nice man.

  2. Loved when he hammed it up with apron and tongs to assist famous chefs during funding marathons. My wife and I still rely on some of those dog-eared cookbooks for whipping up tasty meals.

  3. Apart from his commitment to KCTS9 George was committed to family and friends. He was a warm, very likeable man who always made you feel welcome. Many a time I visited George in -studio for one of his fund raisers. He always extended a hand and offered a story or two to put you at ease before going to air. This generous man will be missed by many. RIP, George.


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