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Old Man River: The Life of Ray Ackerman PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 31 August 2008 20:06

By Bob Burke and Joan Gilmore, Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2002, in print, $24.95

Review: Oklahoma City's modern history can't be told without giving prominent mention to Ray Ackerman, who built the state's largest advertising agency and boosted his adopted city at every opportunity.

Bob Burke, writing with Joan Gilmore, has produced a book, "Old Man River: The Life of Ray Ackerman" (Oklahoma Heritage Association, $24.95), that covers from birth to the present this human dynamo.

 Now chairman emeritus of Ackerman McQueen advertising agency, Ackerman carries a load of civic responsibilities. Ackerman served 35 years in the Navy Reserve, rising from pilot to the rank of rear admiral. Title for the book came from Ackerman's long love affair with rivers, dating from childhood in Pittsburgh, when he swam in the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. For years after coming to Oklahoma City in 1947, he longed to see water in the North Canadian and became a prime advocate of dams and canals to bring the river into such places as Bricktown.

Ackerman and his wife, Lou, have been married for more than a half-century and have six children. Despite long hours spent in business and civic responsibilities, he and Lou took the family on long summer vacations. The couple have had more time for travel in later years.

This makes 38 books Bob Burke has written about Oklahoma and its people. He is an attorney whose passion is preserving the state's history. Joan Gilmore has been a journalist and established Joan Gilmore Inc., Public Relations/Videotaping. The book does a remarkable job of painting Ackerman in his multiple roles.

- Dennie Hall, 2002, The Oklahoman

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Last Updated on Sunday, 31 August 2008 20:17