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Bob Sevey dies at 81


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POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2009

It has been two decades since his retirement, but Bob Sevey is still remembered by island television viewers as the Walter Cronkite of the Pacific for his respected presentation of the news.

               

     

 

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The Walter Cronkite of the Pacific

        Bob Sevey was a TV newsman in Hawaii for 26 years. Among his career milestones:
       

1954: Moved to Hawaii from Phoenix and worked in radio, marketing
        1959: Became KGMB station manager
        1962-1966: News anchor at KHVH, now KITV
        1966-1986: Anchor on top-rated KGMB news
        1989: Moved with wife Rosalie to Lacey, Wash.

       

Sevey, 81, a newsman in Hawaii for 30 years, was regarded as a mentor by countless news professionals who learned the business under his tutelage.

He died yesterday in Lacey, Wash., after a long battle with cancer.

“;He was a mentor to a generation of TV newspeople, many of whom were the foundation for the news business here for many years,”; said Jim Manke, newscaster on Hawaii Public Radio. “;Every newsroom in Hawaii still has people who were taught the business by Bob.

“;The standard he set was be accurate, be fair and, if possible, be first. But the first two were more important,”; recalled Manke.

Sevey came to Hawaii from Phoenix in 1954 and worked in radio, advertising and television before his 20-year tenure as the evening voice and face of the news on KGMB, which topped the ratings during his span there.

He reported on civil rights demonstrations, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of national leaders and remembered being at Kennedy Space Center for the Apollo 11 moon landing as a highlight of his career.

He decried the changing emphasis on entertainment over hard news, and it was a disagreement with the news show producers based on the latter that led him to resign at age 59.

;[Preview]Tribute To Legendary Anchor Bob Sevey
  ;[Preview]
 

Beginning his Hawaii television career in 1954 and later dominating the island air waves for several decades as a lead anchor and news director, Bob Sevey passed away Friday afternoon at the age of 81.

Watch ]

 

Sevey talked about his career and the changing perceptions of news in an interview shown in November 2007 on Hawaii Public Television. Hawaii PBS President Leslie Wilcox, one of his proteges, conducted the “;Long Story Short”; conversations. They will be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. tomorrow on KHET.

Wilcox, who kept in e-mail correspondence with Sevey, said, “;He was still interested in the news behind the news in Hawaii. He read the newspapers online, so he knew the official version of developments. But he enjoyed hearing about what insiders were saying or what internal fallout was going on.”;

Sevey returned to Hawaii last August for a reunion party of KGMB alumni. At that point he was telling friends that he had lived two years beyond the deadline the doctors had given him.

Linda Coble, who was a KGMB reporter from 1971 to 1988, said working with him “;provided a great training ground for everybody who went on to be credible journalists. They got their stripes from Sevey. If I took one side a little more than the other in a story, he would say, 'Tell me the other side.'”;

Circuit Judge Eden Hifo, who was a KGMB reporter for seven years, said, “;His influence extends beyond those who worked with him. He had an extraordinary range of friends.”;

Tina Shelton, former television news anchor and now communications director for the John A. Burns School of Medicine, said, “;He didn't want us to care what the ratings were. He believed we should tell people what they wanted to know but also what they needed to know about.”;

Sevey is survived by wife Rosalie, sons David and Michael, and sister Sandy.