I remember listening to Paul Harvey growing up. He was one of the Larger Than Life voices that boomed daily into my life and helped light a fire in my soul for the magical medium of radio.
Sadly, Paul Harvey died at the age of 90 this past Saturday. Happily, he was surrounded by the people he loved most in his final moments.
His "Rest of the Story" segments began airing when I was 5 years old and I have his books that chronicled many of the best ones in written form. They were slice of life biographies of famous and not so famous people, whose identities were not revealed until the final moments. I loved the build up. The person who once sounded like the ordinary Joe or Jane next door would end up being your favorite artist or a famous politician or historical figure.
His stories brought humanity to the news day. His commentaries were a refreshing series of moments that served to entertain, inform, and inspire. These are three things that every broadcaster should strive to do. The audience deserves these three mental and spiritual food groups. We need to laugh. We need to learn. And we need to aim higher and expect the best from life.
Paul Harvey delivered all three...and always with a smile on his face and love in his heart.
I had the chance to meet Paul Harvey in the late 90s at an event sponsored by the radio station I was working for at the time. I was hoping to find the 8x10 picture I took with him to post on this blog, but it remains in a treasure chest somewhere in the house, the victim of several moves in the last few years.
I remember how he lit up the room by just being in it. And I will never forget the firm handshake and how he could make you feel like you were the only person that mattered. When he was chatting with you, everyone else had to wait. Everyone was important in his eyes. He didn't rush me off to shake the next hand or sign the next autograph. Trust me, most people in my business are NOT like that.
Thankfully, I had the chance to thank him for all the inspiration and joy he brought me and millions of other listeners over the years.
"Why, thank YOU," he said, genuinely meaning it. He put his hand on my shoulder and I truly felt in the presence of not just a tremendous talent, but a tremendous human being.
Thank you kindly, Sir, for the years and years of masterful storytelling. I will miss hearing your gentle voice.