Noted Journalist Feted at Roast

Barrington M. Salmon | 7/12/2012, 2:15 p.m.

The wide cross-section of luminaries from the newspaper business, other media, judges, lawyers, business people and others who gathered at the Post to honor him is testament to the admiration and respect with which Raspberry is held, said Woodson.

Native Washingtonian and local attorney Fred Cooke, Jr., characterized Raspberry as "a wonderful, wonderful guy."

"He's very committed and very integrated into the fabric of the city," said Cooke, 65. "He's a wonderful human being and a great teacher without being pedantic. You'd be hard-pressed to meet anyone who has anything bad to say about him. I wouldn't have missed this."

Guests watched a video that detailed the melange of assistance offered by the BabySteps program that Raspberry established in 2003. Several speakers noted that the program reflected Raspberry's lifelong belief in the redemptive and restorative power of education.

Proceeds from the roast will benefit BabySteps, the non-profit which is located in Raspberry's hometown of Okolona, Miss., for preschoolers. The organization teaches parents how to prepare their children for success in school and life especially when positive role models are not a factor in their lives. Most parents in the program are low-income earners with children under the age of six.

Raspberry once described BabySteps as "my attempt to help give another generation of young people the thing that worked so well for me - a belief in the magic of education."

Raspberry family friend Mary Malgoire agreed.

"BabySteps is an example of how people can change a small part of the world," she said.