Role-model radio newsman Ray Wiater, mentor and friend, dead at 89

photo of Ray Wiater's WBA Hall-of-Fame plaque
Ray Wiater's Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame plaque

Originally published online: June 16, 2023
Last updated: July 19, 2023

I just got a notice from Wichmann Funeral Homes that Ray Wiater died on Wednesday (June 14, 2023) at age 89.  Sad to hear.

Ray was a longtime news director at WHBY-AM radio in Appleton. He was also a mentor to me when I worked as a correspondent for them in the early 1990s. We talked on the phone and shared updates many years later, even after his retirement. He was a good guy and a great role-model newsman.

Ray was called the “Dean of the Fox Valley news corps” and was also known for eating healthy and running/staying in great shape. According to his obituary, he ran marathons and later half marathons until age 81!

All this time I thought his last name was spelled Waiter. But another former WHBY news director, Ed Walters (now News Assignment Manager at WFRV-TV 5 in Green Bay), told me today that “his last name is spelled Wiater [emphasis mine]. Professionally he spelled it Waiter so it was easier for people to know.” Never knew that until now.

Thank you, Ray, for your advice, counsel and friendship. I will miss you.

The funeral liturgy was held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 26, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 410 W. Lawrence Street, Appleton, Wisconsin. Burial, with military honors, was later that day at St. Joseph Cemetery in Appleton.

May God grant eternal rest unto him, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Photo of Ray Wiater's medals and tags from marathons and half marathons
Wiater’s numerous medals and tags from his running events, including marathons (Photos by Chris Lee)
Ray Wiater's personal mission statement (photo by Chris Lee)
Ray Wiater’s personal mission statement
Photo of Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame plaque and other memorabilia at Ray Wiater's visitation, June 26, 2023 (Photo by Chris Lee)
Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame plaque and other memorabilia at Ray Wiater’s visitation, June 26, 2023