What would Ray Menaker say?

The level of volunteer commitment shown by Ray and Vivian Menaker was extraordinary.

As my editor in the early 1980s, Ray guided me through the intricacies of relationships in Haines and acquainted me with the names, families, deeds, and attitudes of all the long-time players. Many of our longest bull sessions happened after deadline nights when we rattled north in his beat-up Subaru over mostly unpaved road to deliver the CVN mock-up boards to the Whitehorse printer by dawn. A few hours later we turned around and talked all the way home.

In later decades, Ray and I talked more, and I recognized a startling pattern: In conversations about local society and specific residents, Ray disparaged no one. He was ever fascinated by human behavior, sometimes angry or disappointed, but always humorous and, ultimately, optimistic. “All the world’s a stage,” he sometimes quoted Shakespeare after a rancorous public meeting. When an actor steps off the stage, he or she sheds the guise and rejoins the community.

Among many fine elders passed or still with us, I believe that Ray’s attitude and activism contributed to the unique character of modern Haines – home of great beauty, deep culture, diverse opinions, and creativity.

No one will dispute that Ray attended more meetings in the last half-century than any other Haines Borough resident. I wonder what he would say now about our public process.

Daniel L. Henry