Journalist, broadcaster, and educator, John Catsis died in Silver City, New Mexico, on April 7, 2017. He was 83 years old.
John Catsis was born in Evanston, Illinois, on July 9, 1933, to Greek immigrant parents, Aristides and Vera (Halkiopoulos) Catsis. John’s father was a long time proprietor of the Main Bowling Center at 925 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. John attended Evanston public schools, and earned two degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. His education was interrupted in the mid 1950’s, during the Korean War era, by a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of Corporal. John served at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, Denver, Colorado; and the American Hospital, Paris, France.
His professional career in broadcasting developed in Mason City, IA; Philadelphia, PA.; and Houston, TX. As John Raymond---Catsis worked as a reporter, film photographer, and radio and television news anchor. During his time in Houston, John was an active member of the First Unitarian Church of Houston, and a leader of their Channing Players amateur theater group, as well as performed in plays at the Rice University Theater.
John and Connie Louise Thibeau were married at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Houston in the late 1960’s, and in 2016, they celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. Their son, Alexander, of whom they are very proud, serves as a sergeant on the Albuquerque Police Department, as well as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
In 1977, John and Connie were part owners of KIVA-TV, an NBC affiliate in Farmington, New Mexico, where John was president and general manager. Three years later, he received FCC approval to construct a new radio station in Grants, New Mexico; a country station called KYKN-FM.
John’s professional career changed course in 1990 when he became a faculty member at the Oklahoma State University School of Journalism and Broadcasting. There, he worked for eleven years, attaining tenure, serving on the university’s athletic council, and writing America’s first textbook on sports broadcasting. In 1996 he was a producer for NBC-TV at the Atlanta Olympic games. He retired from OSU as an associate professor in 2002. “Those were the happiest days of my career,” he later recalled.
When Connie retired in 2007 the couple moved to a home in Silver City, New Mexico, where John lived until his death. During retirement, John became active in freelance writing. His stories were carried in dozens of national magazines. He also wrote several books and was public address announcer for Western New Mexico University athletics for five years. Later, he became the self-proclaimed “Picture Postcard King,” distributing his photographic images of Southwest New Mexico to various commercial outlets in the area, including the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. John’s latest book, Immigrant’s Son, is available on Amazon.com.
Memberships included the Radio Television News Directors Association; Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers Association, Rotary Clubs of Farmington and Santa Fe, NM; Lewiston, ME; and Silver City, NM; Silver City Chamber of Commerce; the Grant County Art Guild; and the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Silver City, where he served as president in 2011.
Survivors include his widow, Connie, his son, Alexander and daughter-in-law Stephanie, two grandchildren, Raiden and Ava, and a sister, Georgette Sotos. Bright Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, 210 W. College Avenue, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061 575-388-1911. Online remembrances can be made at www.brightfuneral.net