Douglas M. Hoy

Contributing Writer

Each of us in our lifetime come in contact with a vast cadre of people, swaying us, influencing our ways, enriching the fabric of our existence. Many have come, gone and possibly been forgotten. A smaller portion may have made a lasting impact upon us, either positive or negative. Then there are those precious few, who upon meeting, you instinctively know your life has just been made better by a simple conversation. 

I would like to introduce you to such a man. Meet local resident, speechwriter extraordinaire and author, Michael Ranville.

Decades ago a most wary and knowledgeable nun at Mike’s high school was in charge of the school paper. She saw within him a flair for words, for phraseology and convinced Mike to give writing for the school paper a try. She turned out to be a very good judge of talent as well as his hardest taskmaster and critic. Many years later, Mike, during a high school commensurate speech, acknowledged her for her toughness and humbly thanked and honored her for any success in his career. It was here his foundation was formed.

Before his book-writing career, Mike was a political speechwriter. He came to it honestly and as he states most fortunately. Mike was just a young writer who joined the Air Force in his early 20s. An early assignment, an assignment of a lifetime, was to provide communications for Air Force One. This spawned an interest in chronicling political events leading to conversations and articles on politicians, industry and labor hierarchy and sports figures.

Mike now is a well-respected and sought out speechwriter for many politicians and dignitaries, locally and nationally. He has spent most of his life in the Charlotte area and knows the halls of our state capitol very well. His commitment to anonymity will not allow him to list the who’s who of major players, both in and out of politics, whose careers have been enhanced by his eloquent and poignant words. Speechwriting at its highest level is a craft, an art. Mike’s talent with the written word continues to be much sought after. 

Mike has written two books with a third soon to be out. His first book, To Strike at a King, is a well-researched, fascinating and telling book about Edward R. Murrow’s battle against the Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy during Senate Hearings in the early 1950s. The book focuses on the case of Lt. Milo Radulovich who had been unjustly cashiered out of the Air Force on trumped-up charges of being a Communist sympathizer. Mike’s efforts and tireless research enabled him to write this book, which garnered many accolades. 

The highest honor for his book is when Hollywood called. Actor George Clooney took great interest in the topic. Clooney gleaned much of the subject matter from the book for the 2005 movie, “Good Night and Good Luck” depicting Murrow’s stand against McCarthy and McCarthyism. 

Mike’s second book, Life to the Years, is certainly more personal and as significant. It illuminates his personal fight and day-by-day victories since his heart attack over three decades ago while in his 40s. He and his co-author, Lansing’s Doctor Michael James, lay out the backstory and histories Mike’s journey before, during and after his heart transplant. It is wonderfully written in a most serious, yet light-hearted style. 

I spent more time with Mike than normal. He is such an engaging individual. He is warm with the sincerity of an old friend whom you just met for the very first time. So many anticdotes and stories he could tell a person, but he won’t. His word of confidentiality just will not allow this to happen. He is proud of his anonymity, pride in who he is and in his body of his work. His warm ingratiating manner belies the tough serious side of a man who has seen a lot, but will tell you little. That is just who he is. 

Mike is not done. He has a book to come out soon and maybe more afterwards. He is a passionate researcher for anything he writes so it may take a while for his books to make it to the shelves. I am sure it will be worth the wait.