Friday, April 06, 2007

John Winter

Thirty-nine, impishly handsome, married and successful, WFLA-TV meteorologist John Winter seemed to have everything to live for when he killed himself yesterday afternoon.

Story in the Tampa Tribune

John and I worked opposite shifts when I worked at WFLA between 1997-1999 so I hardly knew him but he seemed like a decent guy and he did a good job on the air.

I heard about it on the radio while driving home from work yesterday. On a sports talk station of all places. I got home in time to catch the end of WFLA's 6 p.m. news. It has been eight years since I worked there but I still have friends at the station and I knew they were suffering.

When I worked in Lexington our main anchor died. It was cancer so we saw it coming and had time to brace ourselves. Still it hurt. The day of his funeral we devoted the early evening news block to remembering him. Heavy hearts pumped oxygen breathed with great difficulty. In place of the sports segment I told a story about his last birthday, two months before, and how later that night he watched his beloved Green Bay Packers win a Monday Night Football game in miraculous fashion.

Here is the clip (Courtesy WTVQ-TV)

This media file's URL: Link

I managed not to cry at the time but I find myself teary-eyed seeing it now. Did you notice the halting speech? The breathing difficulty I mentioned above was not figurative.

The news of John Winter's sudden death brought to mind all the cliches about how fragile life is. About how our time here is fleeting and temporary and how it can end at any time. And about how being cliches doesn't make them any less true.

May 30 update from the St. Petersburg Times.

No comments: