Bob Guthrie, whose authoritative presence, booming voice and calm demeanor made him one of the most recognizable and trusted news reporters and anchors in Texas over a career that spanned more than fifty years on radio and television, died Saturday morning. He was 82.
Bob, who was a native of Illinois, was in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in 1955 when he was hired on the spot by a WOAI radio manager who overheard his familiar bass voice while he was standing in line at a local grocery store.
Bob hosted talk shows, a popular jazz hour where he was given credit for popularizing modern jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck, and even a lost and found program on the radio before settling into the love of his life--news.
Bob's voice calmed and inspired Texans through the many crises and celebrations of the last half century. Bob was standing in the hallway of the Dallas Police Station on November 22, 1963, and it was Bob who informed the police detectives holding up Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle in a now iconic photograph what make of firearm it was. As a news anchor on WOAI News Radio and for a time on Channel 4 television, Bob was with San Antonio and Texas listeners and viewers through the moon landings, the Challenger explosion, the invasion of Kuwait and 9-11, to name just a few.
Bob was also a licensed pilot and aviation enthusiast, and he would schedule his vacations around the annual Oshkosh Fly-In in Wisconsin, where he loved to talk with his fellow pilots. An Army veteran, Bob was a tireless supporter of the U.S. military, and he never missed an opportunity to meet with troops, whether they were in San Antonio or around the world. Bob loved San Antonio. He was the voice of, among many other events, the Texas Cavaliers River Parade and the Battle of Flowers Parade for decades, and his regular newscast before the weekly meetings of the Downtown Rotary Club was an appointment that local movers and shakers never missed. Bob was also a talented home contractor, who built many of the homes in Shavano Park, where he lived for five decades.
Bob leaves behind a towering legacy of integrity, honesty, and faithfulness to the truth. Bob was what young men and women in broadcast news aspired to become. His impact on the broadcast news profession is indelible and will live on for decades, When reporters strive for the truth, when news anchors put aside entertainment and opinion for solid, accurate and trustworthy reporting, and when Americans receive the news they deserve, delivered honestly and faithfully, Bob will be there, smiling.
Listen to Bob Guthrie's final newscast on WOAI in 2009.
Rush Limbaugh honored Bob Guthrie on his retirement in 2009.
Sean Hannity honored Bob Guthrie on his retirement in 2009.