Ray Sasser: A Life Well Lived

Ray Sasser
Photograph by David J. Sams

Sportsmen recently lost one of Texas’s—and the country’s—strongest voices for the outdoors and conservation with the passing of Ray Sasser. Sasser died February 21 in a Dallas hospital following an eight-year battle with lymphoma. He was 69.

Sasser spent more than 40 years writing about the outdoors, having worked for The Port Arthur News, the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News. He also contributed to a variety of outdoor publications, including Lone Star Outdoor News and Shooting Sportsman (in January/February writing the Conservation column on Park Cities Quail). He was the author of 11 books, including Texas Quail.

Sasser was known for speaking his mind and never shying away from controversial subjects. He was an early proponent of catch-and-release fishing and a champion of young people and women participating in outdoor pursuits.

During his career, Sasser received numerous awards, including the 2016 Dallas Coastal Conservation Association Conservation Sportsman of the Year (pictured), and in 2016 he was inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. In 2009 he received Park Cities Quail’s T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award.

Sasser and Pickens were, in fact, quail hunting partners and, upon learning of his friend’s death, Pickens said, “Ray Sasser was not just one of the greatest outdoor writers in Texas; he was one of the most respected outdoor writers in the country. His success and following were rooted in the fact he didn’t just cover the outdoors; he loved all that it meant to hunters, fishermen and conservation as a whole. To me he was much more than a talented writer who cared about the outdoors; he was a good friend who I will miss. We should all have such a passion for life and our chosen professions.”

Sasser leaves behind his wife of 48 years, Emilie, and two children: Zachary Sasser and Jenny Misslin.

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