Monday, February 07, 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.


The Milner Coupe said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. You have a beautiful way way of describing your friendships that leaves the reader missing someone they did not know. It is sad that you seem to be getting way to much practice lately God Bless.


Ron Rettig said...

I also knew Jack in our great little Army Reserve radio broadcast unit and am saddened to hear of his demise. My condolences to his family and friends.

Breadbaker said...

Ken, I have a partner who once delivered a eulogy for another of our partners where I swear she was brought to life for forty-five minutes while he spoke. Your writing doesn't have that oratorical power, but your ability to make people understand why you care about people you cherished, whether Dave Niehaus, whom I listened to more than you, or Jack Popejoy, whose name never entered my consciousness until I read your blog post, is spectacular. If I ever have to deliver a eulogy, I'll just close my eyes and try to be Ken Levine.

benson said...

I echo what those above me wrote. Also, just this weekend I sent along a YouTube link to a friend who'd spoken at her grandmother's funeral last week. It was a clip from an episode written by another man you'd eulogized, David Lloyd.
"She's such a groovy lady".

J S Swanson said...

My deepest sympathies, Ken. I moved to CA 24 years ago. Since then I listened to Mr. Popejoy a lot on KFWB. Especially following the Northridge Quake.I lived & still live a scant 3 miles from it's epicenter. Listening to him was so comforting in the aftermath. I'm envious that you knew him personally. And for so long. He visited all 7 continents. Amazing!

Metha Sizemore said...

I knew Jack as a friend and mentor. You are correct, he lived such a full life and yet there was so much for him yet to do. Not going to the moon was truly his biggest disappointment in life, and I use to remind him not to give up hope, but by the time he was 50, it became clear that the dream was alive, but would never be realized. Maybe he found a way to detour to the moon on his way to heaven. He was a class act!