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Raymond Boone, founder of Richmond Free Press, dies of cancer at 76

Raymond Boone, founder of the Richmond Free Press dies of cancer
Raymond Boone, founder of the Richmond Free Press dies of cancer

According to Channel 8 local news on ABC, Raymond H. Boone, veteran journalist and the founder of weekly newspaper the Richmond Free Press, died on Tuesday. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013. He was surrounded by family and friends when he succumbed to the cancer in his home.

In addition to being the founder of the Richmond Free Press, 76-year-old Boone was a veteran newspaper reporter and former associate professor of journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he taught for nearly nine years.

Boone was well known in the Richmond area. People knew him, and he knew the people of Richmond, Boone started Richmond Free Press in Jan. 1992. It currently boasts 135,000 weekly readers. Boone was also well-known in the Richmond community for his outspoken views, and he used the Richmond Free Press to say exactly what he had to say..

Both Boone and his publication received numerous awards over the years from various organizations, including the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Boone himself was the recipient of the 2006 Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award, the Virginia NAACP’s highest honor; the 2006 DaimlerChrysler Entrepreneurial Award as well as a 2006 first-place Virginia Press Association editorial writing award.

Richmond Magazine named Boone to its list of “100 Power Players” in Central Virginia in 1998. In 1999, Style Magazine named Boone among Richmond’s “Movers and Shapers” of the 20th century. In 2000, Boone was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame at Virginia Commonwealth University. Boone's other recognitions are posted in the Richmond Free Press website.

Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott was one of the first public figures to issue a statement about Boone's death. In part, it read: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ray Boone. Ray was a pioneer and a fixture in the Virginia Press Corps. The Richmond Free Press, which Ray founded more than 20 years ago, has been an important source of news and information for the Richmond community, often covering issues and stories left unnoticed by larger media organizations. While he was my friend, Ray was always a newsman first and never hesitated to hold my feet to the fire on issues important to the Richmond community."

Senator Tim Kaine also expressed his sadness at Boone's death: "Richmond lost a crusading journalist today with the death of Ray Boone. My thoughts are with Jean, Raymond, Regina and the Free Press family." Senator Mark Warner offered his condolences and words of respect, as well.

Boone is survived by his wife Jean whom he married in 1966 and their two adult children, Regina Helen Boone and Raymond H. Boone, Jr.

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