"With any loss, it's the hardest to realize those words you wanted to say, but it's now too late"
The words may have not been there, but the actions? Well, all you really have to do look at the campus of Tri-Cities Prep.
Written testimonies and hundreds of flowers serve as a tribute to Ray Whitlow; a man described as giving, gracious,and good.
"The gap that he leaves in the fabric of (Tri-Cities Prep) will not easily be patched over," says Principal Arlene Jones.
Ray Whitlow's job as an attorney paid the bills, but his true passion was the gift of giving. He was a true philanthropist. Whitlow served as a volunteer athletic director for Tri-Cities Prep. He coached kids for no charge at all and gave them the means to succeed. Educators tell KEPR it was common for Whitlow to spend his own money so every athlete would have their own uniform.
And as Action News covered this story, we kept learning more stories of his generosity. Whitlow was a proud Cougar alum. He taught legal courses at WSU Tri-Cities. Recognizing the need for a higher education, Whitlow personally bankrolled a $100,000 scholarship for students.
"He was a real example of someone who was always there and always willing to do his part," says Dr. James Pratt, Chancellor at WSU Tri-Cities.
Whitlow's big heart is the reason he was headed to Seattle in the first place. Educators say he driving to the west side to receive an award for excellence in coaching when his life was cut short.