Monday, August 27, 2012

Remembering WJOL's Tony Ray

Joliet, Illinois
Report Assisted by Scott Slocumb of WJOL

Anthony "Tony" Ray, known as the Voice of Joliet, passed away on Friday, August 24th, 2012. A graduate of Joliet Junior College and the Devry Institute of Technology, Tony worked in radio since he was 15 years old with his early focus on sports reporting and hosted a gospel show on WJRC.

At the time of his passing, Tony was the current President of the Forest Park Community Center. Tony was only 53 when his golden, comforting voice went silent for the final time. Tony spent twenty years at WJOL and rose to become Program Director and Operations Manager. Tony became known as the Voice of Joliet during the decade of 1988 to 1998 when he hosted the Morning Show.

Joliet Junior College says this about Tony:

"Tony spent three years at the Chicagoland Gospel Radio Network as operations manager for the company's three Gospel stations and hosted the afternoon gospel show on "Power-106". He has been the host of many programs and has performed at many events throughout the Joliet and Chicagoland area. Tony was once employed by the Will County State's Attorney's office as Victim's Advocate working primarily with victims of domestic violence".

During his life, Tony was an accomplished vocalist, song writer, and producer. This part of his life led him to become the Minister of Music at All Nations Church of God in Christ, and Shiloh Baptist Church. Following his love of music and being true to his character, Tony became an Adjunct Faculty Member at Lewis University, Music Director at the Black Student Union Gospel Choir, and Director of the Joliet Central High School New Era Choir.

Visitation for Tony Ray will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 4 at Minor-Morris Funeral Home on Richards Street in Joliet. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Sept, 5 at All Nations Church, 503 S. Water St., Joliet.

According to Scott Slocumb, Tony had just finished a performance at his church when he suddenly lost consciousness and died at the hospital a short time later. No official cause of death is available at this time, although natural causes are the only suspect.

Those in the Joliet city limits and larger Will County area remember Tony Ray as a dynamic, passionate, hard working, talented, fun, compassionate man. When Tony was on the air or at church, whether he was advocating for victims and survivors of violence, or he was just living his life...he gave it his heart and soul without any holding back.

Proof of this comes not just in the testimonials of his life from the community, but also from a WJOL recording aired on August 27th, 2012 in which Tony sang "God Bless The USA". This recording of Tony performing had this reporter in awe, as I witnessed him give the original artist of this song a run for his money. 

Greg from the American Legion Band tearfully remembered Tony Ray live on WJOL as someone who was very special.
Special thanks to Scott Slocumb at WJOL for providing information to assist in this salute to a wonderful person.