I suppose every human culture depends on elders who are willing not only to teach the young, but to listen to them. Back in graduate school, I was writing about freeway revolts with a methodology that consisted of figuring out which Ray Mohl article was most relevant to a given section. Yet when I met Ray in person, he treated me not as a receptacle of his wisdom and knowledge, but as someone from whom he himself could learn.
That may have been true at the edges; one of the pleasures of urban history is that each city has its particulars, so another detailed case study is always welcomed. But more than that, Ray was a fundamentally patient, gentle, and curious man. His was a face I always delighted to see at a conference, and I mourn that I won’t see it again. Ray, I miss you.
For more on Ray’s work, see In Memoriam: Raymond Mohl