Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tom Haley's words still ring to me today

Tom Haley passed away this morning after a two-week bout with pneumonia. Tom was 88.

Viewers will remember Tom from his long run with Del Donahoo as a morning show team in the 80's and early 90's .. long before early morning news programs became all the rage. My grandmother, Jeanne Mansfield, never missed a show.

Here's a look back from our 50th anniversary show .. a few years ago.

Tom was one of the first people I met at TV3. I was pretty young, just 25, and pretty overwhelmed to be working for a big station. When you're new at this business, you watch and re-watch every liveshot and pick yourself apart looking at the good and bad .. looking to improve .. and over-analyzing everything.

Tom saw me one time looking at last night's liveshot and shaking my head because I had stumbled. I'll never forget that he leaned down and said softly, "don't worry about it kid. Viewers like it when you mess up because it makes you appear human."

To this day .. I still hear Tom Haley's words when I have a big flub on the air. It helps me shake off a mistake and keep on trucking.

I had opportunity to fill in for Del a few times .. and sit in on the morning fun with Tom. He was a riot. He really had a wit that was engaging, and he would have so much fun reading the prices of the morning commodities .. like bacon and eggs. For a serious news guy like me, it was a great eye-opening experience to just sit there and relax and help the viewers wake up.

Tom would always tell me about his seven daughters, and he'd ask me how my kids were growing. He was always very genuine and caring.

I haven't seen Tom in a few years ... with my busy career and Tom enjoying retirement, we just hadn't crossed paths. I'd hear every now and then that Tom had stopped in. Thinking back, there were times I saw Tom at the station Christmas party. He always had a smile and was always curious at how the business was progressing since he'd left.

Now .. we're missing him .. and I'm realizing that I missed out on catching up with him.

Tom .. thanks for making a great impression .. and for being genuine ... I miss you already.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I remember watching Tom & Del, what a great team. It was a joy to watch them as I was getting my neighbors' daughter ready for school. I have thought or them often and laughed. God bless him and comfort his family. Happy St. Patrick's Day Tom; enjoy yourself!!!