Monday, February 7, 2011

Jack Popejoy

So sorry to hear today that Jack Popejoy passed away. Jack was the morning news anchor on KNX radio in Los Angeles, after holding down that position for rival KFWB for years and years.

I’ve known Jack for forty years. We were in the same Army Reserve unit together. In today’s post I tell a story about being in Army summer camp. Jack was there.

He was truly one of the nicest and smartest people I knew.

His shining hour was during the big LA earthquake in ’94. His reassuring and informative coverage was responsible for getting a lot of people through that ordeal. A few years ago on KABC I anchored disaster coverage during a big brush fire siege. I had never anchored disaster coverage before. But I just channeled Jack. My tone was reassuring, my demeanor calm. The station and listeners were very pleased with my coverage. It was all Jack.

I always admired Jack’s insatiable curiosity and desire to learn and experience all he could out of life. He was an expert in earthquakes, but also aerospace. And politics. And economics. And communication. He traveled the world, going to exotic out of the way places. I remember we had lunch one time just after he had returned from Antarctica. He loved it. I must confess, that’s not a destination that I would have picked. I wouldn’t think to grab my parka and go on vacation. But to hear him talk about it, I realized that I was really missing something. There’s a lot to see in Antarctica. Jack never missed a thing. He went, he learned, he took advantage of every opportunity.

Jack Popejoy was only 63. The fact that he got more out of life than just about anyone I’ve ever met still doesn’t comfort me tonight. There was still so much more for him to see, more for him to do. There was the moon.

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