'Rocket' Ray Jutkins, 69, Dies of Leukemia

Ray Jutkins, a legendary direct marketer known for his colorful and eccentric presentation style, died Jan. 6 of leukemia. He was 69.

Jutkins, who for some years was known as “Rocket” Ray Jutkins, worked in direct marketing for nearly five decades. He was known for his skill as a DM strategist and consultant as well as for his enthusiasm and showmanship.

He gave talks on direct marketing all over the world. He wrote two books, “Magic Marketing Minutes” and “Power Direct Marketing,” as well as numerous articles.

He opened presentations at direct marketing conferences by driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle onto the stage. He made himself accessible to others in the industry and was known to answer questions via e-mail from strangers.

“He was very generous with his time,” said John Schulte, president and chairman of the National Mail Order Association, of which Jutkins was an advisory board member. “If you reached out to him, he reached back.”

Jutkins traveled to 164 countries and all seven continents, according to his Web site. He also was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast who crisscrossed the country on his motorcycle.

A memorial Web page has been established for Jutkins at RayJutkinsMemories.info by William Blinn, Jutkins' longtime Webmaster. Blinn recalled their first meeting at a presentation Jutkins gave in New York in the early 1980s, at which Jutkins wore a red-and-white checkered shirt and suspenders.

“He was just this really exciting guy,” Blinn said, “just on the stage and off the stage. He had two or three charts he was writing on.”

His Web site, RayJutkins.com, published a final request for donations to the Dominican University of California's occupational therapy department. Checks may be sent with the notation “In memory of Ray Jutkins” to: Dominican University of California, Department of Occupational Therapy, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901.

“You may ask 'why' the OT department of a small University in northern California,” a statement on the Web site read. “The answer is simple; Ray's granddaughter Brittany is an honors student at this college. First hand knowledge shows the needs of the department are great — your contribution will be appreciated and put to good use.”

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