Everyone loved Harry. By now, anyone who lives in Western Washington knows that longtime KIRO weatherman Harry Wappler passed away last week at the age of 73. I anchored the news at KIRO-TV for nearly five years. Not with Harry, but with his son Andy, who took over the weather center from his father. But because Andy was at KIRO, his father would occasionally stop in for a visit at night, after most people had gone home. And we’d hang out in the studio where the weather center is located.
A charmer. I didn’t know Harry well at all, but whenever we met, talk about a charmer. Just the way he was on TV, just what you’d expect. Kind, funny, that self-deprecating humor that still didn’t stop him from poking fun at his longtime friend and colleague Steve Raible. (Steve, by the way, took it all in good fun, and gave as well as he got :)). Harry was a little frail, fighting poor health, but still kept that smile on his face.
Saying goodbye to an icon. After you’ve worked in TV news for 30 years, you reach a certain kind of status in the eyes of the viewing public, and Harry certainly did. People loved him for his ‘realness’ on TV. He worked during a different era where they often made it up as they went along, found what worked, and kept at it. We’ll say goodbye this week, and even though I didn’t know Harry well, my thoughts and prayers are with Andy, his brother Bill and their families. I suspect Harry will send a few sunbreaks our way on Thursday.