By: E&P Staff
On Friday, after 18 years, Ray Maly, 65, spent his last day as vice president and production director at The Times-Picayune. The man who helped shepherd two dailies, small and large, into the offset era, then see two others through catastrophic natural disasters, has retired at age 65, according to the New Orleans daily, owned by Advance Publications.
Responsible for plant and equipment, Maly’s biggest challenge was coping with the effects of Hurricane Katrina two years ago – looking after the safety of his crew, ongoing production of the newspaper in Houma and Mobile, restoration of services and resumption of production at the plant. Though the storm badly battered the building and forced its evacuation, the pressroom never flooded, though staff had to contend with the ill effects of accumulated moisture.
It wasn’t Maly’s first news-against-nature experience. Nine years before moving to the storm-susceptible Gulf, Maly was in the seismically simmering Pacific Northwest, working as operations vice president for The Columbian, in Vancouver, Wash. That May, Mount St. Helens blew its stack, spewing deadly debris far and wide. As Times-Picayune reporter John Pope noted in announcing Maly’s departure, Columbian photographer Reid Blackburn died of asphyxia caused by airborne volcanic ash while photographing the eruption.
Afterward, back in Vancouver, more than 40 miles south of the mountain, the Columbian was changing ventilation air filters several times a day.
The Rochester, N.Y., native moved to newspaper production after a summer job in packaging printing and a degree from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Printing. After starting as assistant production manager at The Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal, Maly moved to the much larger St. Louis Post-Dispatch, helping with the conversion to cold type and offset at both dailies. He moved to Vancouver in 1973.
The former president of the Metro User Group and International Newspaper Group was a director of the Pacific Northwest Publishers Association and production committee member at the Newspaper Association of America and Southern Newspaper Publisher Association.
Maly told his paper that he and his wife will return to Vancouver, just across the Columbia River from their children and grandchildren in Portland, Ore., and where, among other activities, they expect to work on a project for the Columbian’s publisher. While working in Vancouver, the couple helped launch the newspaper’s People in Need Foundation to aid disadvantaged people in obtaining furniture and appliances. Though the project had yet to be identified, Maly remarked “If we can help, we will.”
The Times-Picayune quoted Publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. calling his outgoing operations chief “a tireless leader with a genuine interest in people, whether employees or customers.”
“We were lucky to have Ray Maly for 18 years,” he added.