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In Memoriam: Ray Alan Crockett, APR, Fellow PRSA

March 19, 2013

Ray Alan Crockett, APR, Fellow PRSA, well-known and respected public relations executive, passed away March 17 in Atlanta. The devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother, who lost his months-long battle with cancer, was surrounded by his family when he died. He was 68.

Crockett was most recently a director of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola North America in Atlanta and retired from that position in July of 2010.

While dedicated to his own career, he was also generous with the time he allocated to helping others further their public relations professions. He was a mentor to young people at Coca-Cola and through PRSA, served on many committees focused on education and career building.

Sonya Soutus, senior vice president of Public Affairs and Communications of the Coca-Cola North America Group, offered these insights: “Ray will be remembered for his tenacious desire to do the right thing for the Coca-Cola business and his local community. His many friends and colleagues will miss his wise counsel, his integrity and his wry wit.”

During his 40-year career, Crockett achieved the highest level of honors in the public relations profession. He was named a PRSA Fellow and was inducted into the PRSA Georgia Order of the Phoenix. He was also an Accredited member of PRSA. Crockett also served as a trustee of PRSA's Foundation Board.

He volunteered with several national and local committees for PRSA, including working with and leading lectures for college students at the Georgia PRSA Chapter’s annual Real World PR Collegiate Conference.

“Ray Crockett was a man of integrity and intellect who had a great passion for public relations,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Ray’s steadfast dedications to PRSA, especially to his beloved Georgia Chapter, and to the profession at large are an inspiration to all of us who follow in his footsteps.  Though his contributions to the Society will be missed, his impact and his legacy will live on in our hearts.”

Crockett had a lifelong communications career, beginning in the U.S. Air Force as an Information Officer for the Air Weather Service in 1968 with increasing responsibilities through 1993, when he was named director of public affairs for the Pacific Air Forces, the USAF’s largest major overseas command. He retired from the Air Force after 26 years as a public affairs officer, at the rank of colonel.

He continued his communications career at both ITT Aerospace & Communications and Lockheed Marietta Aeronautical Systems. In 1999, Crockett assumed the role of director of communications for The Minute Maid Company, part of The Coca-Cola Company.  After four years, he was named a director of communications for Coca-Cola North America, the position from which he retired.

Crockett enjoyed many unique and interesting hobbies. He earned his pilot’s license several years ago, and in 2012 also earned a pilot’s license for gliding as well. He loved to travel and collect wine and recently completed renovation of his basement into a wine cellar and media room.

He volunteered outside of work, assisting communications for the American Red Cross chapters in Fort Wayne, Ind., Houston and Atlanta. He also assisted the Armed Services YMCA in Rantoul, Ill., and was named the 1979 Armed Services YMCA Military Leader of the Year.

Crockett was born March 12, 1945, in Birdham, England. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism in 1967 and a Master of Arts degree in journalism and communications in 1976 from the University of Florida.

A longtime resident of Atlanta, Crockett is survived by his wife of 42 years, Carolyn; three married sons, Kris (Tamara) Crockett, Josh (Lindsey) Crockett and Ben (Ashley) Crockett; and three grandchildren.

For those wishing to make memorial tributes to Crockett, the family has requested donations be made to Homes for Our and the PRSA Foundation.

The memorial service has not yet been finalized.

Ed Note: We encourage readers to use the comments section (by clicking the “View Comments” link below) to share your favorite memories about Ray and pay tribute to his life.


Philip Tate says:

Ray Crockett contributed so much to PRSA and the public relations profession during his career. He will be missed by the many people he touched during his life. My thoughts and prayers are with Ray's family.

March 20, 2013

Doug Oliver says:

I worked for Ray at Lockheed Martin - one of the best bosses I've had. He was a true professional and a kind and understanding person as well. I learned a great deal from him and always knew I could count on his ethics and his support. Our industry has lost one of the best.

March 20, 2013

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR says:

Ray was incredibly passionate about our MBA Initiative, co-chairing the effort for several years. His drive to better the PR profession as a whole is quite admirable. He will be missed greatly by those of us who worked with him on behalf of our profession and our PRSA.

March 20, 2013

Elizabeth McMillan, APR says:

My experience with Ray came after earning my APR. He took it upon himself to drive APR and APR+M efforts within Georgia. In fact, he taught classes up until Feb. 20 of this year and was an active member of the committee until nine days before passing.

March 21, 2013

Sarah Johnson, APR says:

Ray led the PRSA Georgia Jumpstart program that I participated in last year to help prepare me for my APR. He was so passionate about all of us getting our APR before 2013 and thanks to his persistence and his periodic (and witty) reminder e-mails, I earned my APR just days before the new year. He was so passionate about helping others and advancing the profession. I also recall him coming up to me during a break (I was pregnant) and opening up to me about his sons and his grandchildren. He lit up talking about his family. He will certainly be missed.

March 22, 2013

Paul Dusseault, APR says:

Ray introduced me to PRSA here and made me feel welcome in my adopted city of Atlanta. For me, he was the personification of the national PR community. A consummate professional and a real gentleman.

March 25, 2013

Billy Birdwell, Lt Col, USAF (Retired) says:

Ray was a gret mentor to us younger Air Force Public Affairs officers. Ray's influence on our lives will live on for many years.

March 28, 2013

Jamie Roach says:

Colonel Crockett was my boss when he was the director of PA at Aeronautical Systems Command at Wright-Patt many years ago. I was his deputy. He was a calm influence in times of high drama. He was a leader, a teacher, a supporter, and a comedian (or so he thought :)). He was also my friend.

March 29, 2013

Dinah (Oakes) Thweatt says:

Ray and I were classmates at the Madrid Dependents' Junior Senior High School in Madrid, Spain, in 1958. Our fathers were in the military and were stationed in Spain. Then, later, we were in 11th and 12th grades together at Colonial High School in Orlando FL. We graduated together in 1963. I am so sorry to hear of his death. I had been planning a trip to Orlando last August but had to change my plans and had let him know I wouldn't be there.

July 6, 2013

Jane Kerns Cable says:

To Ray's family and friends. I am so sorry for your loss of the wonderful man. He was a great friend in our younger years as classmates at Colonial High School, in Orlando, Florida. Class of 1963. We had great times and fellowship together. Many fun and wonderful memories of a great friend. God bless and hold you in your arms, we will never forget you.

July 7, 2013

Benjamin Crockett says:

My father set impossible standards, not by forceful words but by relentless example through his determined actions. I could not feasibly attempt to live up to the accomplishments and professional precipices he reached as a soldier and leader. The task of meeting - or even approaching - the bar he set as a husband, father and colleague is at once daunting and bittersweet. It is a challenge I am incredibly lucky to have, and a guiding light I was devastated to lose. I imagine him, now, surrounded by a group of angels with his arms folded, with only the occasional one-liner breaking through his patient observation of all around him. I imagine the circle of angels turning, cherubic faces a mix of shock and confusion, before all delight and laugh in whatever keen consideration he dryly manufactured into a hilarious quip. I love you and miss you everyday, Dad. -Ben

June 26, 2015

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