Funeral services were held Tuesday for Ray Boone, publisher of the Richmond Free Press, at New Deliverance Evangelistic Church.
In addition to founding the Richmond Free Press, Boon was a veteran newspaper reporter and former associate professor of journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he taught for nearly nine years.
It was a tearful, yet celebratory service as hundreds gathered to remember a man many say was a visionary and a doer.
“He pushed me but then he would give me that little disarming smile and that let me know that everything was all right,” says Reverend Pheobe Roaf, Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.
The service was attended by dignitaries and local leaders.
US Senator Tim Kaine remembered the type of man he says Ray Boone was, a man he says who always fought for what he believed in.
“Don’t be lukewarm… don’t be lukewarm… in your faith, in your family, in your work, in your compassion, in your advocacy, in your happiness, in your grieving… don’t be lukewarm. Ray Boone wasn’t lukewarm and we shouldn’t be lukewarm.”
The service was also full of laughs, and fond memories of a man many called a friend.
“Ray’s in heaven right now and he has gathered everybody around and said ‘hey look everybody… y’all check this out. Parney’s wearing a suit for me today, and it’s really really tight.'” Says Flying Squirrels’ Todd “Parney” Parnell.
Many speakers acknowledged Boone’s influence on race equality and his strong opinions on policy decisions. But the day was about remembering a man who left a lasting legacy on so many.
“So Ray, you’ve slid safely into home plate,” Parnell says. “For all the reasons above I lovingly say to you one more time, ‘Ray Boone you are awesome.'”
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond