|Rod Deas broke the sad news on January 6th 2011 :-
This is to let you know that, following a surprise call from a former JCA colleague (Jim Fuller), I have been given the news of the death of Ray Johnson, just a couple of days ago. You may remember that Ray and I were both at BBC Worldwide together after TC VT. So far nothing more is known about the funeral arrangements but I'm expecting to have this in due course and possibly may be about a fortnight on from now. Ray apparently had a very agressive form of leukaemia which was virtually untreatable. This is evidenced by the fact that he attended the Christmas Reunion Dinner and was seen to be enjoying proceedings at the time - we spoke briefly but I didn't personally get any intimation of looming health problems.
The photograph of Ray was taken at the first Tel Rec Christmas Reunion Dinner at Glenmore House, Surbiton, in December 2004. As we arrived (the Guildford contingent) Ray was there to greet us, cheerful as ever - sadly, we were unable to make last year's event as we were all stuck in the snow.
Since Rod's email, I have received many reminiscences of Ray - read on below.
I have also added the full version of his Obituary, follow More at the bottom of the page. Hopefully an edited version will appear in the March edition of Prospero,
|Should have gone to bed but keep thinking of Ray.
....gone?...not old enough.
I still remember VT4, a VR1000 in I guess 1964, taking him through his first studio recording....I think he transferred from telecine. He didn't listen...he talked too much but we got there.
He was a gentleman in every sense of the word but that didn't stop his wicked sense of humour and his impish grin.
Back then he loved ski-ing, his car...a Vauxhall Victor and a wonderful interest in all around him.
His ability to talk the hind leg off a donkey and that grin never departed, nor the ability to be friends with all, even when that folically challenged head was the target of many a joke.
No Ray can't have gone...he was simply timeless.
|Like many others, I was very sorry to hear of Ray's most untimely death. I was placed with Ray for several weeks when I first joined VT as a rookie engineer from Ealing Television Film Studios in the mid 1970's. I knew virtually nothing about videotape in those days. He patiently taught me all I needed to know to get started in VT Ops, eg. how to line up VT machines quickly, but well, all about transmission procedures (getting on air without disasters), synchronising for duplex changeovers (an art in itself), studio recordings, playing-in, etc. etc. and also how to cope with the pressures of working with the on-air Sports studio via the Hexaplexer (often it was VT10). Thereafter, it seemed that whenever I needed to know about something new as a VT operator, it would be Ray who would mentor and teach me what was needed - he wasn't an official tutor, it was just that he seemed to have the ability to spot what was needed to be learnt and then put it over in a very friendly and effective way.
I will always be grateful for the sound understanding of VT operational principles he gave me, which stood me in good stead for the rest of my VT and BBC career. Fortunately as it happens, I was able to thank him for all this at a Christmas reunion meal a few years ago. Ray was always a very positive, up-beat person, full of energy and enthusiasm, with a good sense of humour. We will miss him....
|I shall always hear his voice, distorted by the cue track of a VR2000, counting me down to my duplex point when I was in the Transmission Area. Always calm and collected - unlike the chaos that was about to ensue (see Confessions).
As many have said, no matter what the situation, he always had that grin and incredibly good nature.
I seem to recall that as well as ski-ing, which Neil mentions above, he was into flying and sailing - quite a guy.
Very sad! I remember Ray well - always cheerful, and I don't think I ever heard him say a bad word about anyone.
Another sad loss.
|I liked Ray - he always had a smile despite being the butt of jokes (mainly from EGW). I don't think I ever heard him say an unkind word about anyone. Yes, a great pity we missed him before Christmas.|
|Me too, Ray was always smiling. R.I.P. Ray
|Ray was one of the first people I met in VT when I joined in 1969 and was one of the typical BBC Engineers of the time (you know, jacket every day, screwdriver and chinagraph in the pockets, afternoon tea up in the canteen). A very honest and dedicated person who luckily enjoyed the BBC at its best.
Oh happy days.
|I recall, at my time in Enterprises, we worked on the Round the World yacht race and Ray told me his nephew Mike Golding was involved, he sailed Group 4 in the Single handed circumnavigations. Nice guy Ray, a quote I think, at 11:30 one Saturday Grandstand, "You can't rehearse yet, I've not finished lining up".|
|When I started in VT in 1973 I became very complacent after my initial training. Ray (who wasn't my trainer) was the only one to have the guts to take me aside and tell me that I should be quicker with my line-ups etc and be more ambitious - learn how to edit, he said.
Well, I am still learning! I am glad that a couple of years ago I managed to thank him for this verbal kick up the backside.
|As said already, Ray was always the kind gentleman and always willing to help out.
I must say my enduring memory is the essays he wrote on the recording report cards. Never big enough for all the information he wished to pass on, in literary style.
|Geoff Higgs (from New Zealand)|
|I will always have fond memories of Ray as a very friendly and helpful member of the team. He always had a smile on his face when he told you, at great length, all the problems that his team had had to overcome to get a tricky job done; well and on time!|
|Ray was always a good and fair organiser of people and work. Enthusiasm and kindness were qualities that Ray had in generous measure as was his willingness to share his extensive knowledge. I enjoyed catching up with Ray at the Surbiton Reunion as he always seemed to be living life to the full and thoroughly enjoying his retirement, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to come along last year particularly in light of what has happened. I remember the loyalty he inspired in new ROs when they joined and came under his wing – he was always interested and proud to hear of how people from his team had progressed. It’s as well that he had such a good sense of humour given some of the small jokes we played on him.! Happy times with a great guy who I’m proud to have had as my friend.|