Ricci Ware

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Richard Cone "Ricci" Ware, Sr.

(San Antonio radio personality)


Born April 14, 1937
Stockdale, Wilson County
Texas
Died October 21, 2016 (aged 79)
Spouse Miriam Lorraine Maxwell Ware (married 1957-2003, her death)
Religion Christian

Richard Cone Ware, Sr., known as Ricci Ware (April 14, 1937 – October 21, 2016), was a radio legend for more than a half-century in San Antonio, Texas, much of his time with station KTSA AM, at which he was a disk jockey and then the host of a talk show. He was known for his old-fashioned demeanor and penchant for the countryside.

Career

A native of Stockdale in Wilson County, south of San Antonio, Ware was a son of Richard M. Ware (1911-1960) and the former Esther Cone (1915-2007). He began his radio career in the middle 1950s in Baytown, east of Houston, Texas. In 1957, he wed his high school sweetheart, Miriam Lorraine "Mimi" Ware (1939-2003), and they moved to the capital city of Austin, Texas, where Ricci worked for then United States Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson at KTBC radio and television. Radio legend Gordon McLendon, a conservative Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1964 against the incumbent Ralph W. Yarborough, heard Ware while McLendon was passing through Austin. He hired Ware to come to KTSA in San Antonio, one of the earliest stations in Texas.[1]

Ware was among the most outspoken conservatives of talk radio. He was not always accurate in his predictions, as in 1992 when he claimed that then U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, who like Gordon McLendon had lost the Senate election to Ralph Yarborough, would defeat Bill Clinton based in part on overwhelming Bush support in a KTSA opinion poll. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ware co-hosted with Jud Ashmore The Ricci and Jud Show, a rowdy morning program on the old country station KBUC. The two sometimes picketed San Antonio City Hall over controversial matters.[2]

Ware was also instrumental in motorcar racing in San Antonio. Himself a racer in his younger years, he became the owner and operator of the Pan American Speedway on the Austin Highway and then on the Toepperwein Road. Ware's track closed after the building in 1978 of the San Antonio Speedway. He encouraged stock car racing undertaken by his two sons, Richard "Ricci," Jr. (born July 13, 1960) of Culpeper, Virginia,[3] and Trey Allen Ware[4] another long-term KTSA radio personality who hosts the call-in program on weekday mornings. In 1989, Frank Howell, the former owner of the San Antonio Speedway, hired Ricci Ware to manage and run the half-mile speedway. During this time he booked the popular Texas Super Sprinters Association, a winged sprint car series that raced on dirt tracks across Central and South Texas.[4]

On September 1, 2007, Ware was honored at an old-fashioned sock hop at John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, Texas, on the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary of being on the airwaves in San Antonio though his career actually started in Austin. Two former mayors attended; performers included the legendary musicians, Fiddlin’ Frenchie Burke and Augie Meyers of the Texas Tornados, along with the Oh So Good Band. The event was sponsored by San Antonio industrialist Red McCombs and emceeded by Ware's long-time friend and KTSA colleague, Bruce Hathaway (1938-2017).[4] Less than a year after the fiftieth anniversary celebration, KTSA cancelled Ware's talk show, which was then airing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. The premise for his removal was the establishment of an hour-long mid-day news program. Ware was allowed to announce his exit on the air and was given a Sunday program from 5 to 7 p.m. instead; "they tossed me a bone," Ware quipped.[5] Ware finally retired from KTSA in 2012.[1]

Ware and Bruce Hathaway quickly became household names during the rock ’n’ roll era of the 1960s. Hathaway, who died three months after Ware's passing,[6] said at the time of his friend's death: "He shouldn’t be dead. He and I should just now be getting out of prison for all the fun and happiness that we had. He was one of my dearest friends, and we raised hell. We were like brothers. It’s just a sad day.”[2]

Jud Ashmore, who like Ware spent time as a television weather broadcaster in San Antonio, called his friend "a rock star. He was totally unpredictable, very honest. He called it like he saw it."[2] Trey Ware, who co-hosted with his father for many years, posted a farewell on Facebook: “My hero returned home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning. My dad, Ricci Ware, was my hero in every sense of the word. He was a one-of-a-kind talent who had the natural ability to make you laugh and feel better about life in all circumstances. He could also cause you to think — deeply"[2]

Ware resided in his later years in Seguin in Guadalupe County east of San Antonio. He and his wife are interred at Stockdale Cemetery in Wilson County.[1] He outlived two of his grandchildren, Justin Christopher Ware (1985-2014), a guitarist and motorcycle enthusiast, and Rebekah Lindsay Ware (1988-2009), the son and daughter of Trey and Nancy Ware.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ricci Ware. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on August 3, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jeanne Jakle and Hector Saldana (October 22, 2016). San Antonio radio legend Ricci Ware dies. San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved on August 3, 2017.
  3. Ricci Ware. MyLife.com. Retrieved on August 3, 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ricci Ware, San Antonio radio legend and motorsports icon. blog.mysanantonio.com (September 1, 2007). Retrieved on August 3, 2017.
  5. Ricci Ware's radio show axed. blog.mysanantonio.com (April 25, 2008). Retrieved on August 3, 2017.
  6. Radio personality Bruce Hathaway dies at 78. San Antonio Express-News (January 30, 2017). Retrieved on August 3, 2017.