A well-known figure in local media and marketing circles for decades, Jeffrey C. Raymond died on Oct. 26 of a heart attack. He was 56.
A North Baltimore resident who belonged to Bolton Street Synagogue, Raymond served as chief of the division of communications and community affairs for the Baltimore City Department of Public Works.
“The entire Department of Public Works extends our sincere and heartfelt condolences [regarding] Mr. Raymond’s passing,” said Rudolph S. Chow, DPW’s director. “[Raymond] strived to keep communications channels open with the public. His fairness and promptness in dealing with the media earned him respect among journalists, colleagues and friends.”
Before coming to DPW six years ago, Raymond worked for nearly seven years as a media relations specialist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, for the pharmacy, dental and law schools. He also served as president of the Baltimore Public Relations Council from 2012 to 2014 and treasurer from 2014 to 2019.
“I loved working with Jeff when he was part of our communications team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore,” said Chris Zang, director of editorial services at UMB. “Sure, there were the serious things I appreciated. His competence. His ability to turn around a clean story in a little bit of time. His team spirit and jumping in to get joint projects done. His recognition of what makes a story newsworthy and then calmly adapting it for print, TV, radio, social media.Personal things like his love of sports (Cardinals) and family (he adored his son Seth and wife Beth).
“But amid all of Jeff Raymond’s serious talents, I think what I appreciated most was his sense of humor,” said Zang.
A St. Louis native and graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, Raymond worked for nearly a decade as a reporter for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois. He later worked for Patuxent Publishing in Columbia for three years and the Daily Record in Baltimore for nine years.
“Jeff and I sat next to each other at two different jobs — as reporters at Pax Publishing and as public affairs officers at UMB,” said Rosalia Scalia, a friend and former colleague of Raymond’s. “Jeff’s untimely passing came as a shock. His innate goodness shone brightly through, no matter what he was doing. I often relied on his humor and wisdom. Jeff always made me laugh and brought so much joy to those around him. He will be sorely missed.”
Michael Schwartzberg, who knew Raymond professionally and personally for more than a decade, called him “a 100 percent menstch. He was just a great guy who was very dedicated to the city.”
Schwartzberg, who is the media relations director for the University of Maryland Medical System, said he last saw Raymond two weeks ago at a Baltimore Public Relations Council gathering. In particular, he said they chatted about Raymond’s beloved Cardinals playing against the Washington Nationals in the baseball playoffs.
“We were just two friends there talking about baseball,” Schwartzberg said. “Jeff was always so warm and accommodating and helpful, a real family man who was committed to his synagogue. He was also a great professional who was well respected by the media and his peers. He did a great job. I’m just in shock. A great guy.”
Bolton Street Synagogue’s Rabbi Andy Gordon described Raymond as “kind and caring. He wasn’t the most talkative but when he spoke, he shared deep thoughts and had a wonderful sense of humor. He and his family were very active at Bolton Street Synagogue and were at fixture on Sunday mornings for Hebrew school and throughout the year. He will be missed by many in our synagogue and throughout the city.”
Raymond is survived by his wife, Beth Raymond (nee Cohen); his son, Seth Raymond; his parents, Alan Raymond (Myra Rosenthal) and Merle (Arnold) Cole; his siblings, Greg (Brandi) Raymond, Amy (Tim) Raymond, and David (Judy) Cole; his sisters-in-law, Nan Cohen (Dan Abrams) and Jill Cohen (Rick Padgett); and his father-in-law, Marvin Cohen (late Sonia Cohen).
Raymond’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 11:30 a.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros, 8900 Reisterstown Rd. at Mount Wilson Lane. The family will sit shiva at 5100 Falls Rd. on Wednesday after the funeral until 5 p.m., and from 7-9 p.m.; on Thursday from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.; and on Friday from 1-4 p.m.
Contributions in his memory may be sent to Bolton Street Synagogue, 212 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, Md. 21210 or the ACLU, 125 Broad St., 18th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10004.