I received the word yesterday, through a mutual friend; today, J. Christian Adams does a nice job paying tribute. Our friend, and regular AmSpec contributor, Ray Hartwell, died Friday evening at an all-too-young 66, while working out on a treadmill in his new hometown in Alabama. A physician happened to be on the treadmill right next to him, but nothing could be done.
I did not know Ray extremely well, but I was the one who brought him to the Spectator. He came recommended by the mutual friend at his old law firm, after already having been published a few times in other places, with the encouragement of Adams and of the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky. A couple of years ago he and his delightful wife Marianne were visiting the Gulf Coast, and I had a wonderful lunch with them at a seafood place overlooking Mobile Bay. They were wonderful company, and Ray was really excited about retiring (mostly) from the law and trying to make a mark as a columnist. Wlady here at AmSpec welcomed Ray’s work with enthusiasm, and Ray treated AmSpec readers with some great insights — as in this column, in which he noted that our rules of engagement against the Taliban are more restrictive than some domestic police forces’ rules of engagement against kids with toy guns.
I had looked forward to many more years of Ray’s fine writing. Instead, I mark with great regret the passing of a good man, way too soon. Our condolences go to Marianne, and our prayers for Ray for a well-merited eternity in God’s joy.