I learned that long-time news anchor and reporter Charles King passed away today, and while I mourn for his family and will miss him personally, I can almost hear him say, "Don't waste your time fretting over me." He was just that humble.


I can, however, thank him for giving me the best piece of advice I ever got. I remember it like it was yesterday. He came on our show when we were asking celebrities what their first jobs were. But he wouldn't allow us to call him a Quad City celebrity. "News-man will be just fine," he gently told me when I asked how he'd like to introduced (As if he needed any introduction.)

He was so charming, and down-to-earth, and respectful, even of our show and the people running around in the studio, even though if added up together, all our years would be dwarfed by his experience.

He told us his first job, where he made money, was selling pelts to local shop keepers and farmers. 5 cents a head, for any that he and his friends could, trap, slingshot or bb gun. He said the farmers appreciated the pests eliminated from their fields. I still laugh as I picture a simpler time, and a young Charles King and his buddies running around town carrying the pelts of a few ground hogs, maybe a squirrel and a rabbit thrown in. It's in my memory like a morbid Norman Rockwell painting.

It was after our broadcast when I had a few minutes to sit down with Mr. King and ask him some real career advice. I think I embarrassed him, but his longevity and easy manner were milestones I had also hoped to achieve in my career, as he did his. So I asked him how he dealt with all the little things that can wear down someone in his position. He thought about it, and I could tell he didn't have any magic recipe to give me. And then he said, "I decided early on, that I wanted to be on TV so that I could have a life, and not let TV become my life." If I had a nickel for every time I've thought of that statement over the years, well, I'd have enough nickels that I wouldn't have to hunt pelts.

Charles King did have a magic recipe for me that morning all those years ago. I thank him for setting me straight. He just may have saved my career. He will be missed.