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Oklahoma City’s Ray Ackerman Dies

Filed by KOSU News in Local News.
October 17, 2012

The man who led the remaking of the Oklahoma River is dead at age 90. Ray Ackerman pushed for the river work to make the first list of MAPS Projects in 1993, insisting it would bring development and revitalize the city. And now, the rowing community considers Oklahoma a top notch training and racing destination. Earlier this year, I talked with Ackerman as he was getting honored for his work.

“Awful nice to leave a footprint that says you were here. And that statue says that. But the message says why I was here. And when you die, you like to think you left something.”

For his work, Ray Ackerman was known as Old Man River.

“A guy that was vehemently opposed to it, I saw at lunch once and he looked at me and said ‘Old Man River’. That was his way of telling me he was wrong, but he wouldn’t admit it.”

He also ran an advertising agency in Oklahoma City and served as a Navy Rear Admiral.

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