LOSS OF A GIANT
As each of us grow up, there are always certain people who stand out in our memory for one reason or another. As a youngster in the Pine Belt region of Mississippi with dreams of someday being on radio or television, there was one gentleman who always seemed to be on whenever the TV was turned on...and much of the time, that was probably true.
Jim Gibbon enjoyed a career in radio and television of six decades, all of which were in the Laurel/Hattiesburg area of South Mississippi. During that time, he accomplished a number of things that many collegues can only dream of, from serving as Paul Harvey's announcer when the ABC Radio commentator visited the area to participating in Mississippi's first true stereo broadcast...wiring two local AM stations to broadcast seperate channels. He loved technology and the arts, and was active as a founder of Laurel's community theatre company.
Jim Gibbon passed away Wednesday after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 76, less than two month after retiring after 42 years with WDAM-TV, the NBC affiliate for the Pine Belt area. For much of that time, Jim was primarily the morning/noon weathercaster, but also handled a host of other duties including reading news during the Today show breaks and the station's midday feature programme in addition to handling some of the show's feature segments. He was a true "jack of all trades", as was required of many who worked in small market television, but WDAM General Manager Jim Cameron made note that:
"...HE LOVED HIS JOB AND LACKED THE TOWERING EGO THAT IS SO OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE WHO CHOSE LIFE IN THE PUBLIC EYE. IN FACT HE WAS QUITE HUMBLE AND EXTREMELY HARDWORKING. HE BELIEVED IN INTEGRITY AND PRECISENESS WHEN IT CAME TO BROADCASTING..."
Just as the Tampa Bay area mourned the loss of WFLA-TV meterologist John Winter not long ago, my home region now is saddened at the passing of an old friend.