3517 RALEIGH AVENUE, ST. LOUIS PARK, MN 55416
2015 Minnesota Broadcast Obituaries
Don Riley, November 10, 1923 – December 31, 2015
According to Patrick Reusse, “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Riley sold more newspapers with his ‘Eye Opener’ column than anyone in the history of Ridder-owned newspapers in St. Paul.”
Riley maintained his role as a controversial, must-read story-teller, writing six columns a week, right up until his retirement in 1988.
When he wasn’t riling-up Green Bay Packers fans with his morning newspaper column, Riley was a prolific author, television and radio host, raconteur, and entrepreneur. According to an autobiographical note in Gallivan’s Gang: “At 20, he played golf at a charity tourney with Minneapolis mayor Marvin Kline. At 22, he was broadcasting wrestling and boxing matches from the Minneapolis Auditorium. At 23 he engineered a hot rod race at the fairgrounds track which drew 24,000 fans. At 25 he spent his own money to cover the legendary Notre Dame-SMU football contest in Dallas and won an award for proficient writing. By 26, he began covering the legendary five world’s title drives of George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers pro kingpins.”
Riley hosted Sports Roundtable on WMIN TV (Channel 11) with Frank Beutel and made regular appearances on WTCN, WMIN, WCCO, and WLOL Radio.
Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dottie Williams Riley. He is survived by daughters, Sheila Riley Becker (John), Shannon Riley Genereux (Joe), and five grandkids.
Mike MorriseyMichael G. “Mike” Morrissey, April 2, 1940 – November 30, 2015, was the longtime KDHL sports director in Faribault, Minn.
Donald (DJ Don) Walter Johnson passed away November 27, 2015, in Pahrump, Nev., after an 18-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Don was born February 28, 1933, at Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. He served in the Army during the Korean War and attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis. He worked 40 years as a radio personality, a job that he loved. He also did TV news early in his career. He worked at WMIN, KTCR, and KEEY in Minneapolis, KDHL in Faribault, Minn., KNFF in Shenandoah, Iowa, and was the first on-air announcer for the then-new WIXK in New Richmond, Wis. He completed his career as program director and on-air personality at KXTZ in Henderson, Nev.
Don is survived by his wife of 32 years, Delores (Dodie) Otto Johnson; sisters Marge Knoke Berget (Eagan, Minn.), Sharon (Roman) Gawreluk (Coon Rapids, Minn.); daughter Stacey Lynn Johnson (Battle Ground, Wash.); five grandchildren; two great-grandsons; and many nieces and nephews. There will be a memorial service at 11:00 am on January 16, 2016, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 151 South Washington Ave., New Richmond, Wis.
Boone and Erickson, Boone’s 37-year collaboration with Roger Erickson, was one of the most popular shows on radio, consistently attracting more than 60 percent of Minnesota’s radio listeners.
Born August 21, 1927, in Rutland, Vermont, and raised in New London, Connecticut, Boone served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1945 to 1948. He then spent several years with the San Francisco Repertory Theatre before his first job in radio at KWAD in Wadena, Minnesota, in 1954. After a year at KVOR in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he moved to KFGO in Fargo, North Dakota.
Just before he came to Minneapolis, Boone was scheduled to emcee a show by Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens in Moorhead, Minnesota, when he learned that the rock stars had been killed in a plane crash. Needing a replacement act, he scrambled to enlist a local band called the Shadows, headed by 15-year-old Robert Velline, later known as Bobby Vee.
In 1959 Charlie Boone joined WCCO Radio, hosting a late afternoon show as the station’s first disc jockey, playing records instead of introducing a live orchestra.
“The first thing I did on July 15, 1959, was introduce Cedric Adams on the Noon News,” he told Paul Bergly in 2004.
Boone’s natural curiosity made him a great interviewer and he soon began chatting and trading jokes on the air with Roger Erickson who hosted the show just before his. It took a couple of years and a lot of prodding by sponsor Miracle White laundry bleach, but in 1961 they teamed up to form one of the great radio partnerships of all time, a union that lasted 37 years.
Boone and Erickson put Charlie’s skills in acting, voices, and dialects to good use. Together they created skits and routines that defined Minnesota as they poked fun at politicians, lampooned current events, and parodied old radio shows. One of their most popular bits was “Minnesota Hospital,” billed as “the best place to get sick in.”
Although the show ended in 1998, Boone continued to do a Saturday morning program on WCCO until his last show on December 18, 2010.
During his 51-year career at WCCO, Charlie Boone received numerous honors on behalf of the station, including the Columbia, Dupont, and Peabody Awards. He hosted countless charitable events benefiting education, the arts, and health research and was a member of numerous nonprofit boards, including the Pavek. He was always ready to do anything we needed and he always did it with style.
Former WCCO Television anchor Don Shelby said of Boone, “He was a thoroughly articulate, wellstudied, serious man, who could, thank God, be funny at the drop of a hat, but his internal workings were those of a serious broadcaster.”
After radio he remained active as a volunteer, recording talking books for the blind and supporting numerous other organizations and events in the community.
Charlie Boone passed away November 22, 2015, at the age of 88.
In addition to his twin sister, Charlotte, Charlie is survived by his wife, Dr. Carol Heen; daughter Jaimie (Eric) Lavanger; son Christopher (Shelly) Boone; grandchildren Hadley (Luke) Wilcox, David Lavanger, Calvin, and Charlie H. Boone; and greatgrandson Sullivan Wilcox.
By NapierByron “By” E. Napier, Jr. March 22, 1928 – November 12, 2015, was a nationally recognized writer-producer for WCCO Radio for nineteen years – the last ten concentrated in administration as program director. His University of Arkansas years were focused (“way too much,” his advisors would tell you) on the theatre, motion pictures, popular music – and a bright, comely fellow student of grace and good humor named Mary Gay Greer. He often spoke of lying awake in university days listening to big-band music live from ballrooms across the country on clear-channel WCCO – and dreaming of being part of such a magical world.
By’s work life began at broadcast stations in Oklahoma and Wisconsin. He was a popular disk jockey in Eau Claire, Wis., and hosted one of the early teenage dance shows on local television. By is particularly remembered at WCCO Radio for his extensive bicentennial-year programming, including: America, We Hear You Singing!, a 60- part perspective on two centuries of American music, and an acclaimed series of “conversations” with figures from the nation’s past: Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Abraham Lincoln, and Ben Franklin, among others. By shaped the “interviews” from the personalities’ own words; Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson portrayed the guests. His series of 360 vignettes, Northwest Chronicles, won the coveted Bicentennial Award of Ohio State University’s Institute for Education by Radio-TV. Governor Wendell R. Anderson cited By and his wife, Gay, for “outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s observation of the American Bicentennial.”
A literacy advocate, he tutored immigrants in English words and American ways under the auspices of the Minnesota Literacy Council. By was preceded in death by his cherished wife and best friend, Mary Gay Greer Napier. He is survived by sister-in-law Allyene, and nieces and nephews.
Richard SeversonRichard Eugene Severson, February 1, 1930 – September 24, 2015. He served in the Korean War and worked in radio and TV at WIXK and KYMN Radio. He was an affable, intelligent sales rep who hosted Sunday mornings on KYMN for nearly 20 years.
He was born on November 11, 1933 in Chicago, Ill., the oldest child of Philip and Evelyn Nolan, and big brother to Mary Jo. Shortly after graduating from Brook High School, Brook, Indiana, Phil joined the Army. He was proud of his service during the Korean war and said he owed much of his character to his time in South Korea. Phil found great joy in his family. He married Kathleen (Fredstrom) in 1956 and shared 40 years raising their four children; Kellie (Bryon McCartney), Tom (Jan), Michael (Dr. Julene Nolan), Anne (David Snow).
After Katy’s death in 1997, Phil found love once again and married his favorite Brit, Lynn (Irving), in August 2000. They made their home in Naples and shared the joys of family, friends, tennis, and travels around the world.
In his own words, Phil had his dream career. Starting as a page at NBC in Chicago, Phil’s lifetime in broadcasting took him and his family from Minnesota to Oklahoma, Utah, Connecticut, Chicago, and back to Minnesota, where he retired as owner of KAUS AM/FM, Austin and KEEZ FM, Mankato. He is remembered by his work families as a caring boss who helped them achieve their best. In his work, Phil crossed paths with many celebrities. His John Wayne and Paul Newman stories, especially, will be passed along and embellished for generations.
Phil was an asset to every community he lived in, and served as a leader for many charitable and professional organizations. He was especially proud of his 20+ years as a Rotarian, his involvement with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, United Way, and the Minnesota Broadcasters Association. He was deeply honored to be inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
A loving, kind, and remarkable man, Phil was truly one of the good guys. He was a treasure to his family and the many wonderful friends who were part of his life. He will be remembered for his humor and stories, his integrity and fairness, his love of music and knowledge of news. Phil left the world a better place than he found it.
Phil is survived by his wife, Lynn; his four children; nine grandchildren: Justin, Jason, Jack, Meg, Charlie, Caroline, Anna Kate, Avrie, and Emma; two great-granddaughters, Madison and Natalie; three nieces: Jeanne, Nancy, and Sally; and his nephew, Chris.
Courtesy the Nolan family
Daryl and Nikki formed quite a team when they spent their early years setting up and running small radio stations in the South in the late 1940s. They were the on-air personalities, producing & voicing radio dramas for CBS, voicing commercials, and managing the stations. After returning to Minnesota, they built their home in Sherwood Forest and raised their family, remaining in the house until Daryl moved to The Glenn in Minnetonka. Daryl stayed in broadcasting, as a children's show TV personality (TNTatters & Captain Daryl) & then in radio, taking on multiple sales & management roles in his 29 years at KQRS. He loved his family, fishing, golf & lunch with his broadcast friends, traveling with Nikki, & later, Darcie & Ethan, watercolor painting and watching his grandchildren grow up. He was devoted to his church & volunteered with the Men's Club, read Scripture at Sunday services, and shared his many stories with everyone who was within earshot. The family extends a special thank you to his family of caregivers & friends at The Glenn in Glen Lake.
He started doing the weather in 1950 with a five-minute report sponsored by Taystee Bread. He would squeeze a fresh-from-the-oven loaf and tell viewers it was “baked while you sleep.” He later upgraded to the “Shell Weather Tower.”
His friends and former colleagues recall Kraehling as kind, fun-loving, and a gentleman. “He rarely initiated conversation, but when people did with him, he was very responsive and easy to talk to,” said close friend Allan Lotsberg, best known as WCCO children’s-show character Willie Ketchum. After leaving the station in 1996, Kraehling kept busy as a greeter at the Minnesota History Center and a performer at nursing homes. His retirement hobbies included photography, and memorizing songs and poetry “to stave off dementia,” said his daughter, Claudia Kraehling. He remained sharp and active almost to the end, she said, still driving himself to the grocery store up until last month.
His first wife, Natalie, from Virginia, Minnesota, died in 1998. He married singer Shirley Lockwood Larson, whom he met while working the lights for Allan Lotsberg’s New Fogey Follies in 2003. In addition to Lockwood, he is survived by four daughters, Candice Swenson (Ralph), Cinda Kraehling, Claudia Kraehling (Paul Engh), Katie Kraehling, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
In 2012 Tom Oszman interviewed Kraehling, who recalled that Moore once asked him where the weather came from. “From the west,” Kraehling replied. courtesy Kristin Tillotson Star Tribune
Glenn OlsonGlenn Olson, 81, of Webster City, died Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at his home. Olson was a radio broadcaster from 1951 until his retirement in 2000, ending his career with KQWC in his home of Webster City.
During his career, he managed, owned or operated a number of radio stations throughout the Midwest, including KSIB in Creston, KWBG in Boone and KLRX in Ames. May Broadcasting purchased KQIS in Clarinda from Olson in 1989. That station is now KMA FM 99.1. Olson was an active member of the Iowa Broadcasters Association, serving as IBA president in 1986.
He was named Iowa Broadcaster of the Year 10 years later. From kmaland.com
Jim BollmanJim Bollman, the longtime radio announcer whose familiar voice reached listeners throughout the Grand Forks area for decades, died Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at the age of 80.
Bollman worked for 55 years in radio, the last 45 in Grand Forks, according to a 2012 Herald story. At the time of his retirement he was working a morning shift at KNOX-1310 AM. Bollman was also a play-by-play announcer for UND football and basketball games.
World Wrestling Entertainment, which inducted Gagne into its Hall of Fame in 2006, described him as "one of sports-entertainment's most celebrated performers and promoters."
Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, better known as the Iron Sheik, wrote on Facebook that Gagne -- who trained him -- "was his first coach, boss and friend in America."
Gene Okerlund, a pro wrestling announcer who worked with Gagne for more than a decade in the Twin Cities, posted on Twitter that there was "never anybody quite like him."
Gagne, a star high school athlete in Robbinsdale, came to the University of Minnesota to play football and wrestle. He won a Big Ten wrestling title as a freshman in 1944, then served in the Marine Corps, before returning to the U of M in 1946, winning three more conference titles and a pair of NCAA championships and earning a spot on the 1948 Olympic wrestling team. He remains a presence in the university wrestling program to this day: His name is engraved on the wall of champions, his picture is up and the team gives out an annual leadership award named for him. "He's an iconic face in the state of Minnesota for wrestling," said Brandon Eggum, head assistant coach for Gopher wrestling.
After college, Gagne was drafted by the Chicago Bears with a late-round pick in 1947. He opted instead to go into professional wrestling, winning his first match on May 3, 1949, beating Abe "King Kong" Kashey" at the Minneapolis Auditorium.
In 1959 Verne and Wally Karbo bought the "Minneapolis territory" from National Wrestling Alliance promoter Dennis Stecher. They called the new association the AWA or "American Wrestling Alliance." Some time in the 1970s it became the "American Wrestling Association."
That transformed him into a successful promoter as well as performer, winning the AWA World Heavyweight Championship title 10 times between 1960 and 1981. He typically finished off opponents with his trademark "sleeper hold" -- a headlock that appeared to make the defeated man pass out.
The AWA drew sell-out crowds to the St. Paul Civic Center during its heyday in the 1970s and early '80s. The AWA and its syndicated "All-Star Wrestling" television show featured performers such as Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Nick Bockwinkel, Reggie "The Crusher" Lisowski and "Mad Dog" Vachon. Gagne's son Greg also performed for his father in the AWA.
Verne was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2007.
Verne was preceded in death by wife, Mary; brother, Will; sister, Ruby. He is survived by his children; Donna, Elizabeth, Greg, and Kathleen; a brother, Jerry; half siblings; and six grandchildren. His wife, Mary, passed away in 2002. From twincities.com and George Schire's A.W.A. Record Book: the 1960s.
Claude and Beatrice HeischClaude Heisch, former WCCO Television film editor passed away April 16 at the age of 89.
Claude was born in Enghien Les Bains, France on August 4, 1925, to Rene and Suzanne (Heisctt) Heisch. He grew up in France where he finished his schooling and worked as a photographer in the French military for four years. He moved to the United States in 1950. On September 14, 1963, he married Beatrice White in St. Louis Park. Claude worked as a film editor at WCCO Television for 39 years before his retirement.
Claude is survived by his wife, Beatrice; sister, Nicole Burda; nieces and nephews.
Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. They were three of the most colorful figures in the history of Minnesota broadcasting; between them they owned 14 radio stations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and around the country.
They built WSHB AM (now WMGT) in Stillwater in 1949, and all three worked to make the station a success. They later sold their interests and built stations WKLK in Cloquet and WKLJ in Sparta, Wisconsin. In 1951 they founded station WCOW in South St. Paul, forerunner of KDWB, and even planned to add a television station on channel 17. That project never materialized, but shortly after they founded another successful radio station, KDUZ in Hutchinson. Over the years they also owned radio stations KAAA (now KCUE) Red Wing, KWEB Rochester, KAGE Winona, KTCR Minneapolis (later adding an FM signal that eventually became Cities 97), and other stations in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, and Wyoming.
Tedesco served on the St. Paul City Council from 1966 to 1986 as an at-large member, later representing Ward 7 in the city's southeast corner. He was council president from 1979 to 1986. Both Nick and Al passed away in 2002.
Vic Tedesco enjoyed his life and and played saxophone with his band until he passed away on Monday, March 16, 2015 at the age of 92. Survivors include his children, Patricia Boyer and Anthony Tedesco, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In 1950 he and his father, Harry, and brother, Bill, built KTOE in Mankato. Other stations added to the Mankato group include KDOG (now Hot 967), KXLP, KXAC, KATO-FM, and AM1230 The Fan Mankato.
Through the years he has also had ownership interest in radio stations in Marshall, St. James, Montevideo, Worthington, and Hutchinson, as well as in Pella and Fort Dodge, Iowa. Don was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2001.
Don has been active in many community organizations and has stressed his stations' important role in community life, emphasizing local news and sports, and choosing announcers who are active in the community.
Don was preceded in death by his wife Margaret in 2008, and son, Jeff. He is survived by sons Doug, John, Bruce, and Tom and their families.
Jack NugentNugent, John "Jack" Joseph (90 years old) of Naples, FL and Edina, MN, went peacefully to be with his Lord on March 9, 2015.
He was born on August 19, 1924 in Providence, RI to Harry F. and Kathleen Mary Nugent (Cotter). Jack grew up in Edgewood, RI, and graduated from LaSalle Academy in 1942. At the age of 18, Jack enlisted and proudly served his country in World War II as an officer of the United States Marine Corps. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1948. Jack's love for music and sports carried him into Radio Broadcasting, where he began his career in the 1950's as an on-air music host of Jack's Jukebox and as a local sports commentator in St. Joseph, MN. He served as Station Manager with KDAL-AM Radio in Duluth, MN and General Manager at KSTP-AM/FM Radio in the Twin Cities with Hubbard Broadcasting. Jack finished his career in the media business as President of Farvue Outdoor and retired to Florida in 1987 with his beloved wife Armella (nee Barg). Jack served his communities as President of the Elks Club, Rotary Club, and as a Commissioner of MAHA Midget Hockey. He loved his hockey and baseball but he lived to play golf with his friends and family.
Jack is survived by: sisters Mary and Kathleen; children Tom (Debra), Kathleen, Kevin (Teri), Nancy (Chuck), Terri; 7 grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and other relatives. Jack was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Mell; his parents, and sister Margaret (Peggy).
James BallJames Daniel Ball, age 73 of Mesa, Arizona, passed away on February 28, 2015, at Banner Baywood Hospital.
J.D. was born June 7, 1941, in Bemidji, Minnesota. J.D. was a loving husband, father and best friend who enjoyed downhill skiing, boating, fishing, singing (Frank Sinatra), golfing and traveling. He was a devoted husband and best friend to his wife and a wonderful father to his children. He is dearly missed and if you were lucky to know him, you know how much he enjoyed telling his long, short stories.
He was a DJ for the local radio station KBUN in Bemidji, Minnesota and was a drummer for local bands. He taught broadcasting for 26 years at Minneapolis North High School. J.D. is preceded in death by Peter Ball, father and Bess Youngstrom, mother. He is survived by Eileen (Lee) Ball, wife, Jimmy Wahl, son, Heather-Lea (Darrold) Re-DeGunia, daughter, Marcus Perez, Grandson (son of Jimmy Wahl), J.D. Wahl, grandson (son of Jimmy Wahl), Danielle Hamilton, grandaughter (daughter of Jimmy Wahl), Jacob Re, grandson (son of Heather-Lea DeGunia), 3 great grandchildren. From http://affordablecremationaz.com
Dick ChapmanLongtime WCCO personality Dick Chapman passed away February 27, 2015, at the age of 84.
After studying journalism at the University of Missouri, the Kansas City native came to WCCO in 1957, first as a news writer for Cedric Adams, then as co-host of Honest to Goodness with Randy Merriman, before hosting his own news broadcasts on the station. Chapman spent 36 years with the station until he stepped away from the microphone in 1993.
During his tenure at WCCO Radio, he broke and reported on a number of big stories, including the evening of May 6, 1965, when a cluster of tornadoes barreled through the Twin Cities. He took phone calls from listeners who were seeing funnel clouds and aired the eyewitness reports live, using a metro map to predict the storm’s path and warn listeners to take shelter. “He invented a new way to use commercial radio that night,” said Rob Brown, a WCCO manager at the time who screened phone calls that evening. Sophisticated radar was not available for radio and television weather reports at the time, Brown said, so he, Chapman and Charlie Boone worked six hours without a break triangulating touchdowns and issuing warnings.
The Twin Cities Weather Bureau credited the trio with saving 2,000 lives that night, and the station received three of the nation’s top broadcast journalism awards for public service, the Society of Professional Journalists Award, the Dupont Award, and the Peabody Award.
His interest in public service led to the creation of WCCO Radio’s “Direct Line,” providing a wealth of raw data on changing weather systems.
After he retired he wrote When ‘CCO Was Cookin’, a surprisingly candid, behind the scenes look at the people and the events that defined the golden age of WCCO. To hear Dick Chapman go to http://www.radiotapes.com/default.asp
Dick Chapman was preceded in death by wife, Barbara and parents, Clara and Rudolph. Survived by children: Connie, Candace, Timothy (Tamera) & Michael (Julie); grandchildren: Rhea (Grant), Trevers (Laura), Jesse (Rebecca), Nicholas, Joshua (Tasha), Justin, Andrew (fianceé Jessica); 9 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; brother, Stan; nieces, nephews, other relatives & friends.
Kirsten LindquistKirsten Lindquist died of pancreatic cancer at her home in Glen Allen, California, on February 14, 2015, at the age of 60.
After her first job out of college with a CBS radio affiliate in northern Virginia, she joined the Associated Press Radio Network in Washington, D.C., and covered the White House, the State Department, Congress, the Supreme Court and all federal agencies. Lindquist left radio news for television in 1980 and joined the start-up crew of CNN news, going on to anchor CNN from Los Angeles.
In 1985 she moved to Minneapolis and anchored the news on WUSA/KARE, Channel 11, and then moved to KSTP, Channel 5.
In what was probably Lindquist’s most dramatic experience on Twin Cities television, she and KARE co-anchor Paul Magers were joined by meteorologist Paul Douglas on the set as the Fridley tornado of July 1986 destroyed 68 acres of the Springbrook Nature Center while uprooting century-old trees and mature forest habitat during its 16 minutes on the ground.
Lindquist is survived by her mother, Mickey Cooke, and stepfather Erik Holbek of Glen Ellen; brothers Scott Lindquist of Santa Fe, N.M., and Suren Holbek of Wildwood, Calif., and sister Mona Lindquist of San Anselmo, Calif. courtesy StarTribune Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
A 2006 inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Don Stolz was best known as the guiding force behind the Old Log Theater, but he was also a radio veteran and played a pioneering role in the growth of television in the Twin Cities.
His broadcasting career began in 1938 at WKY Radio in Oklahoma City, where he co-starred in the network program Devil’s Roost. He later appeared on the CBS Radio Network program Let’s Pretend. He bought the Old Log in Excelsior in 1946 for $1.00 and always claimed that the seller got the best of the deal. He soon became heavily involved in the Twin Cities broadcast scene, acting for WCCO Radio and directing all the television commercials produced by Campbell Mithun. He produced several shows and holiday specials for WCCO TV, including the first full-length play ever televised here, and hosted and produced On the Spot, which featured amateur motion pictures. In 1953 he began the roles for which a generation remembers him: the “paws” and off-screen voices of “Towser the Dog” and “Tallulah the Cat” on the beloved WCCO TV children’s show Axel and His Dog.
In 2008 Don won the Ivy Award for Lifetime Accomplishment in Minnesota Theater and was inducted into the Evergreen Club of Musicians. He has also won the Honorary Lifetime Membership of Actors Equity and named Businessman of the Year by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and Excelsior Chamber of Commerce. He also wrote two books and four plays.
Don was preceded in death by wife, Joan and daughter, Joannie. He is survived by sons Peter (Pam) Stolz, Dony (Sue) Stolz, Tom (Pat) Stolz, Tim (Mary) Stolz, and Jon Stolz; eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Greg PrattGreg Pratt, former WCCO TV producer, from 1979 to 1985, died of a heart attack on January 28, 2015, at the age of 64. Described as fearless, tenacious, and curious with a passion for storytelling and a keen ability to put words and pictures together, Pratt tackled compelling topics in the award-winning documentaries he produced for WCCO-TV’s Moore Report and PBS’ Frontline.
“He was brilliant,” said former WCCO-TV anchor Don Shelby. “The Moore Report was the gold standard, and everybody in the business around the country knew it. Greg brought a wonderful eye and style to the Moore Report. ”
Pratt, who grew up in the Buffalo, N.Y., area, earned his graduate degree at the University of Minnesota and participated in University Community Video.
Some of Pratt’s work is archived at the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Georgia Peabody collection and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Honors include Scripps-Howard Public Service in Television, a National Association of Television Programming Executives Iris Award and UPI Documentary award.
Pratt is survived by his father, Eugene, of Clearwater, Fla.; brothers E. Douglas Pratt, of Roswell, Ga., David Pratt, of Grand Island, N.Y., and Michael Pratt, of Williamsville, N.Y.; and sister Marcia Martin, of Dallas. courtesy StarTribune Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768
Skip AldrichGeo (Skip) Aldrich, retired KARE 11 chief engineer, died quietly in his sleep January 26, 2015, at age 75.
Good husband, father, son, brother, in-law, community servant, friend, and TV engineer. Survivors: wife of 54 years, Phyllis; children, Mitchell (Shelley Willis), Stuart, and Charlene Swanson (Scott); grand-children Michael Swanson (Lindsay), Quinn, Brandon, Blake, Alix, Amber, and Melissa; sister, Janice Johnson; brothers, Stephen (Myrna) and Byron (Shawn Paulson); nieces/nephews and families. Highly regarded among his peers, Skip could fix any technical problem.
A 2001 charter inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, George Brooks used the drive that put him on the air at age 16 at KOVC Valley City, North Dakota, to become a master of broadcast management and a leader in the community. After his first appearance in 1940, he worked his way up and became the KOVC's program director. He later served as program director and news director at KDIX Dickinson, North Dakota, and at KFGO, Fargo, North Dakota. In 1952 he moved to Minnesota and became news director at KSUM Fairmont. In 1956 he became general manager of KMRS Morris, moving to KOTE Fergus Falls in 1959. In 1962 he acquired KCUE Red Wing and made it one of the most successful in the region. He added sister FM station KWNG in 1965, and owned and operated the two stations until selling them in 1981. He has served as a director of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, and as president of both the Minnesota and North Dakota Associated Press organizations. He is recognized as the most prolific writer of resolutions in Minnesota broadcasting history, and was also instrumental in establishing Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
George is survived by his beloved wife Marjorie and five children, James (Patricia) of Overland Park, KS, Robert (Alene) Gilbert, AZ, William (Nicole) of Chicago, IL, Geri (Robert Parks) of Gastonia, NC and Jeanne Zyck (Robert) of Leawood, KS. Also surviving are his six grandchildren; Edward and Emily Welsch, David, William and Alexandri Zyck and Tyler Brooks. Two brothers and two sisters also survive; David (Joyce) of Longmont, CO; Delmar (Joyce) of Fort Collins, CO; Elizabeth Makoda of Coon Rapids, MN and Carolyn (Edward) Gruber of San Antonio, TX. Preceding him in death are a brother, Pastor L. James Brooks and two sisters, Joan Lighties and Sybil Duncan.
A 2003 inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Jim Rohn touched the lives of thousands of listeners and viewers in Minnesota and North Dakota in a career that spanned more than six decades.
After serving as a US Navy radioman during World War II, he attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis, and entered broadcasting at KSJB Jamestown, North Dakota, and KXJB TV Fargo. His many duties included weather reporting, news anchoring, and production. He produced and hosted such programs as Polka Party, High School Teen Quiz, Greener on Your Side, Fin & Feather, and Welcome Inn. He was also known and loved by a generation of Fargo/Moorhead area children as “Captain Jim.”
In 1972 he moved to Alexandria, where he became weather director at KCMT FM and at KCMT TV (now KCCO TV). He joined KIKV FM Alexandria in 1990, serving as news director and appearing on the popular Rick and the Morning Crew show, as well as Weather Talk on KB101 FM Bemidji. Active in numerous community and charitable organizations, he was an integral part of the annual Radiothon to End Child Abuse. He retired in December 2014 and moved to Fargo.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Lois; daughter, Julie Ann; sisters, Jacklyn and Doris and his parents. He is survived by his daughters, Marianne (Bruce) Dakota, Polly (Dallas) Jorgenson, and Jean (Kelly) Rohn; grandchildren, Tonya Grandbois-Smith, Amber Kerr, and Dallas James Jorgenson; great grandchildren, Forrest, Liam, Eve, and Ronin; sisters, Dorothy Farley, Marilyn Graffenberger, and many friends and fans.