The City of Highland Park is saddened to learn of the passing of former Highland Park Mayor Raymond J. Geraci. His passing leaves our community with a deep sense of loss as Mayor Geraci was a lifelong resident as well as an admired and respected citizen.
Born August 26, 1928, Ray Geraci was the only son of Rose and Joseph Geraci. Growing up in Highland Park, Ray attended local schools, including the Immaculate Conception Church School where he also served as an altar boy. He attended Lake Forest College and was an announcer for the Lake Forest College football games at the time the Chicago Cardinals practiced there. Brothers Bill and Charles Bidwell, who owned the team, heard Ray’s great voice and when he finished school, Ray became the voice of the Cardinals.
Ray served as the Public Relations Director for the Chicago Cardinals Football Team from 1951 to 1961, where he worked in the Comiskey Park football press box creating the first NFL play-by-play sheets for the visiting press. He was the Cardinals announcer and play-by-play broadcaster in St. Louis from 1966 until 1971. During his career in broadcasting, Ray’s face graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and he called the plays for Super Bowl VI. He also worked with the Chicago Bears WBBM Radio Team. After retiring from broadcasting, Ray became active in local politics.
Ray served as a Park Board Commissioner (1961 – 1967), a City Councilman for two terms (1987 – 1990; 1991 – 1995) and was elected Mayor of Highland Park twice (1970 – 1975; 1995 – 1999). Among his many accomplishments in office, Ray Geraci founded YEA! Highland Park which raised funds to benefit youth, education, and arts in collaboration with Ravinia Festival. He was also very involved with the Highland Park Historical Society and was instrumental in the original move and restoration of the Stupey Cabin to its current location on St. Johns Avenue between the Library and City Hall. Mayor Geraci was also instrumental in the policy decision that led to the development of Renaissance Place in downtown Highland Park.
Ray is survived by his wife Ann Geraci, their children Ray Jr., Mark and Laura, and numerous grandchildren.
The flag of the City of Highland Park will be flown at half-staff in honor and memory of former Mayor Geraci.