Former Gazette GM Ray Beals dead at 67

Posted June 5, 2017

EMPORIA — Ray J. Beals, 67, passed away June 4, 2017 at his home after a battle with cancer.

Ray was born April 21, 1950 at Newman Hospital. He attended Mary Herbert Elementary School and Emporia High School. At age 18, he began work at the Emporia Gazette as pressman. After 45 years, he retired from the newspaper, holding the job of General Manager.

On April 12, 1969, he married Kathy Wirsig. Together they built a home north of Emporia where they hosted many family gatherings. Ray had many interests and approached each with passion.

In his younger years, he enjoyed drag racing and later, still attended as a spectator. He loved computers, bowling, playing golf and softball, and hunting with his friends. His Wednesday night card games were a favorite, as were remodeling projects in their home. He took pilot lessons and enjoyed the freedom of flying.

For several years, after receiving his pyrotechnics certification, he organized and produced fireworks shows around Kansas. He loved listening to music; and in recent years, he learned to play the guitar. He and Kathy liked traveling to attend Gretsch guitar gatherings all over the country.

Ray is survived by his wife, Kathy, of the home; one son, Brian and his wife, Teresa, of Augusta; one granddaughter, Caitlin Beals, of Wichita; and one great grandson, Bentley Burton, of Wichita, and many other family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Harry Beals; his mother, Maizie Beals; a sister, Jeanne Elliott of Bridgeport, Texas; his father-in-law, Harry Wirsig of Dunlap; and a niece, Sally Colbert, of Dodge City.

A celebration of life will be held at Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, 605 State St., in Emporia at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7. In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations made to Hand-in-Hand Hospice, Hope Lodge in Kansas City, or Bentley Burton College Fund and sent c/o Roberts-Blue-Barnett.