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.
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.