Raymond J. Prince Printer, Marketing consultant, Printing Trade Advisor, Passes Age 76

Raymond J. Prince

Printers, consultants and industry consultants

(I was asked to write this obituary, and I do it with a heavy heart. Ray Prince and I have had a close 52-year friendship with life that in many ways paralleled each other personally and professionally.)
– Harvey Levenson, Professor Emeritus, Cal Poly

Ray Prince was a 61-year-old industry veteran, consultant, and consultant who dedicated his career to helping print companies improve productivity and quality for bottom line profitability. Ray died on May 1, 2020.

Ray has advised on a wide variety of operational areas spanning the breadth of disciplines, from sheet and web print testing and solving paper and ink problems to color control systems and reducing paper waste. Ray received an AAS and BS in print management from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and an MS in print management from South Dakota State University.

Ray’s interest and career in graphic communication began in 1958 at the age of 14 when he found a 3×5˝ Kelsey hand-operated press in his parents’ attic. He asked his father to teach him how to operate. The first job he printed was letterheads and envelopes for his church. Then it hit him! In his words “he created something of use and beauty and was delighted”.

Not long after, when Ray was in high school, he borrowed $ 900 from his father and bought a very old book printing business from a used machinery dealer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he lived. That was the beginning of Ray’s career in printing. After high school, Ray had made enough money to go to RIT for his AAS and BS degrees, and then South Dakota State University for his MS, all in print management.

After graduating from MS, Ray was hired by legendary Mike Bruno of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) at their new Pittsburgh headquarters. He was motivated, trained and worked six days a week. He has had the opportunity to travel and consult with Mike Bruno many times. He participated in every GATF seminar, conference and workshop. When Mike Bruno retired, Ray McKinley reported to Luther, an attorney with great organizational skills. He taught Ray a great deal and guided him in public speeches that have served Ray well over the years.

Ray’s next job was at Azoplate Corporation, a manufacturer of lithographic printing plates and other products for the printing industry. At Azoplate, Ray learned mechanical engineering with the advent of plate processors and other printing devices. He was also elected to the Board of Directors of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA), an industry research association composed of leading scientists, technologists and innovators in the graphic communications industry, and has served on several committees.

After about nine years at Azoplate, Ray joined a commercial printer in Sioux Fall, South Dakota and was then invited to return to GATF, reporting to John Geis, director of technical services, and later to Bert Bassett, GATF president. This was the beginning of Ray’s longstanding consulting, lecturing, writing, conducting seminars and traveling a lot. GATF grew and merged with Printing Industries of America (PIA) and Ray was named Director of Technical Service, with a large group of consultants reporting to him.

After many years at GATF / PIA, Ray was hired by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), also an industry association, as Vice President and returned to consulting. Ray attempted to retire in 2009 but quickly realized that retirement wasn’t for him and started his own counseling practice.

Ray has always been a friend and supporter of education. He helped develop the resources and funded what is now the Raymond J. Prince Graphic Arts Center (RJPGAC) in Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, California. He arranged many publication donations, raised considerable funds, and was responsible for donating the entire Wadsworth Library of the American Printing Industry to Cal Poly. now the largest graphic communication library in the world. The collection includes rare books, some dating back hundreds of years. These books are protected in the university’s rare book collection, but are accessible to students, faculties, and members of the industry for research purposes. Hence, because of Ray Prince, Cal Poly’s students are surrounded by the knowledge available to them.

In an essay written by Ray Prince and recently published in the BFHS Book of Wisdom at the Ben Franklin Honor Society, Ray gives the following advice to our current and future industry members:

  • Hard work is a must
  • Get your education
  • Attend seminars, workshops, conferences and exhibitions in your field
  • Be motivated and open to training
  • Do more than asked
  • Do not be intimidated by public speaking – just follow them
  • Become a member of industry associations
  • Carefully research companies before taking any positions
  • Be a self starter and innovator to advance your company’s interests
  • Motivate employees in management positions
  • Work on improving the physical work environment
  • Always leave a job on excellent terms
  • Try to give something back to your industry every year
  • Develop a “friends list”

Ray has been a member of numerous industry associations and has held director and executive positions in many of them. He has received many awards for his contributions to the advancement of the graphic communications industry and for his support for education.

Ray was preceded in death by his mother, father and sister, as well as his first wife, Nancy. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughters Susan and Sarah, and grandson Joseph.

No service is planned. Condolences can be sent to: Bonnie Prince, 249 Desperado Lane, Custer, SD 57730, or by email to Bonnie: 263sophies.mom@gmail.com