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Ralph S. Titus

December 22, 1933 October 9, 2018
Ralph S. Titus
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Obituary for Ralph S. Titus

One of the founders of the National Public Radio format and a longtime Kansas State University public broadcaster, Ralph S. Titus, 84, of Manhattan, Kan., passed Oct. 9, 2018. He was born in Winfield, Kan., Dec. 22, 1933, to Ralph E. and Pauline (Sease) Titus.
When Ralph was five-years-old, his father made him a wooden toy microphone, and he became hooked on radio. He started his broadcasting career while still in Winfield High School as an announcer at KSOK Radio in Arkansas City, Kan. He enrolled in Kansas State Agricultural College in 1951, becoming the first student hired as an announcer on KSAC Radio. In 1955 he earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities and speech as well as an Air Force ROTC Commission. He later earned a master’s degree in mass communications from the KSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Serving two years in the U.S. Air Force as an RB-47 jet pilot in the Eighth Air Force Strategic Air Command, his three-man crew was named the Outstanding Crew of the Eighth Air Force in 1957. After leaving active duty, he served many years as a reserve officer, earned the rank of colonel and was the commander of the Air Force Academy’s Kansas Liaison Officers Group. He graduated from the Air War College with honors.
From 1957 to 1959 he was assistant news director for WIBW-TV. In 1959 he became a television news anchor at KWTV in Oklahoma City. He returned to KSAC (later known as KKSU-AM) in 1962 as assistant manager and program director. In 1988 Ralph became Operations Manager and General Manager of radio, television, video and film services of K-State Extension Communication.
In his years at KSAC/KKSU, he prepared and hosted Music from the Masters for many years as well as The Ralph Radio Program for 20 years. Ralph wrote and produced hundreds of special programs and voiced many films. Over the years he did countless interviews, earning many honors as a radio and television anchor and reporter. For years he was probably known to many as “the voice of Kansas State University” bringing the university to the people.
When the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, Ralph, along with four others, planned the National Public Radio format. It included the concept of expanded news and information coverage known as All Things Considered. During its first decade, Ralph contributed more reports to All Things Considered than any other individual.
The first program grant from NPR was awarded to Ralph for a 13-week series on Dwight D. Eisenhower. This first extensive audio biography of Ike was broadcast on NPR, the BBC and the Voice of America. For this series Ralph interviewed Gen. Omar Bradley, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Harry Butcher (Eisenhower’s personal aide during World war II), grandson David Eisenhower, and many others involved with President Eisenhower during his lifetime. The original musical score for the series was written by the internationally renowned composer Gail Kubik, who had been composer-in-residence at KSU in 1969.
Over the course of his career, Ralph interviewed three U.S. presidents, numerous heads of state, and countless political and military leaders. He also interviewed hundreds of less-famous people who he said he usually found more interesting than the more famous. He saw changes in the broadcast industry from transcription discs and vacuum tubes to satellite broadcasting. He retired from KSU in 1994.
Ralph enjoyed writing, photography, reading and the arts. Music was his great passion, and, over the years, he did voice work with the KSU Orchestra and other music department ensembles.
A long-time resident of Manhattan, Ralph served as president of the Manhattan Public Library Board; board member of the original Manhattan Day Care Association; advisor to the McCain Auditorium Arts Program; member of the Master Teacher Institute for the Arts; president of the English Speaking Union, Manhattan Branch; board member of the Kansas Historical Society; member of the Wesley Foundation Board; member of the KSU Department of Music Advisory Board; and chairman of the United Campus Ministries among others. He was a member of the First United Congregational Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Rebecca Anne. He leaves his wife Mary Ellen and his daughter Susann Campbell, both of Manhattan; grandson Benjamin A. Campbell of Lorton, Va.; and two first cousins, Karen Alexander of San Diego, California, and Marjorie Hughes of Saint Joseph, Missouri
Instead of flowers the family requests donations to either Second Helping, the free community meal offered at the First United Congregational Church, or to The Ralph Titus Music Fund at the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation that will provide funds for music programs in the KSU School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
A celebration of Ralph’s life will be Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. in the KSU All Faiths Chapel. Following the service there will be a reception at the Beach Museum of Art. There will be a private Inurnment with military honors at the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM 12/2/2018 2:00:00 PM
All Faiths Chapel

1401 Vattier Street
Manhattan, KS 66502

All Faiths Chapel
1401 Vattier Street Manhattan 66502 KS
United States

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