Jeffrey C. Raymond, director of communications and community affairs for a city agency that made frequent, sometimes complex and often unpopular news, died suddenly on Sunday.
In an email released this afternoon, Department of Public Works Director Rudy Chow “regretfully announced the untimely death” of Raymond, who was 56 and who worked for DPW for the last 6½ years.
Raymond “strived to keep communications channels open with the public,” Chow said in the email. “His fairness and promptness in dealing with the media earned him respect among journalists, colleagues and friends. ”
A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, Raymond worked for over 20 years as a newspaper reporter, first for small newspapers in Missouri and central Illinois, and later for Patuxent Publishing in Columbia and the Daily Record in Baltimore.
In 2006, he exited the news business for public relations at the University of Maryland Baltimore, where he coordinated media relations for the law, dental and pharmacy schools.
He was hired by DPW in May 2013 with an expanded portfolio to manage community affairs as well as public relations.
In addition to writing hundreds of press releases, he represented the department at public meetings and press conferences concerning water main cave-ins, customer billing, and compliance with the 2002 sewer consent decree.
He often made appearances on television and radio news programs in the role of explaining DPW’s capital programs and initiatives.
“We’re still in shock here,” Kurt Kocher, a close colleague, said this afternoon. “We will remember Jeff as a person who would be calm, who would have a sense of direction and who was a caring and wonderful individual.”
• Here’s a link to an obituary from Sol Levinson & Brothers funeral home that includes details about the funeral service scheduled tomorrow (Oct. 30) at 11:30 a.m. at the Levinson Chapel, 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.