Ray Mosby was the editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork, Mississippi and won the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Writing for the third time this year. He passed away last week after a short illness.
He was a Mississippi treasure and a friend.
I met Ray the same way you probably did when I’d read his syndicated column every week in The Clarion-Ledger. I loved the sharpness of his writing and his tongue. Ray took no prisoners and suffered no fools. I remember meeting him for the first time at the Mississippi Press Association’s annual convention — I half expected him to be seven-feet tall. He wasn’t. He was funny, quiet and kind. Thanks to Facebook, I was able to keep up with him — I don’t get up to Rolling Fork as often as I would like. But the fact that Ray stayed in that small South Delta town showed exactly who he was. His talent could have taken him anywhere, he knew where he was needed — and that was at the Deer Creek Pilot.
While at the MPA convention this summer, I saw Ray sitting on a bench in the hallway outside of the casino’s ballroom. He looked frail and tired. I plopped down next to him and we caught up. He had been ill but was on the mend, he said. We talked about things that people who haven’t seen each other since the pandemic would talk about. We talked about how nice it was to be around people again. We talked about the fate of the newspaper business. When Ray won his third Emmerich, he joked he would have to live another decade to win another one.
Sadly, he didn’t.
I’ve drawn too many obituary cartoons in the past couple of years. And I’ll admit, I didn’t know what to draw about Ray. He was a friend. I’ve lost too many friends lately. My sadness just created a block — and I put the thought aside. But yesterday, Natalie Perkins, editor and graphic designer at the Deer Creek Pilot asked me if I would draw one for Ray. I agreed and started reading about his life and career. Then this idea flashed into my head — Ray is now doing St. Peter’s job.
This cartoon appeared this morning in the Deer Creek Pilot.