CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland forecast requires a 100 p.c likelihood of unhappiness. Weatherman Dick Goddard, considered one of Northeast Ohio’s most beloved tv personalities, died Tuesday at 89 years outdated, his daughter, Kimberly, confirmed to WJW-TV Fox 8.
“My HERO, my DADDY, THE GREATEST ANIMAL LOVER is now an ANGEL,” she wrote on Facebook.
Kimberly, who has been her father’s caretaker in Florida the previous couple of years, shared in June that he tested positive for COVID-19. No reason for loss of life has been launched.
“There is no such thing as a method to measure his contributions to our tv station or our neighborhood,” WJW-TV Vice President and Common Supervisor Paul Perozeni stated in an announcement. “Merely put, WJW-TV is the home that Dick Goddard constructed.”
He added, “Dick’s best legacy lies past our constructing right here on Dick Goddard Means. His tireless work advocating for animals all through our neighborhood, state and nation, is what Dick would need to be remembered for greater than anything. His love of animals and love of our viewers was by no means extra on show than on the yearly Woollybear Competition.”
Identified for his self-effacing humor and his professional grasp of tough Cleveland climate patterns, the genial, soft-spoken Goddard had been an area information fixture since Could 1961. Most of his climate forecasting was carried out for WJW Channel eight, the place he was thought of such an important a part of the night newscasts, his nickname within the halls of the station grew to become “the Franchise.”
“That wasn’t with out good purpose,” stated Kevin Salyer, Channel’s eight vp for programming and promotion. “You possibly can’t underestimate the belief issue. I do know there are folks on this space who don’t go to mattress till Dick tells them the solar will come up tomorrow.”
Though typically described as one of the crucial trusted figures within the historical past of Cleveland broadcasting, Goddard was keen on relating experiences the place the joke was on him. There was the offended name from the viewer who advised Goddard on a wintry Cleveland day that he’d “simply shoveled six inches of your partly cloudy out of my driveway.”
There was the letter from the teenager who knowledgeable him that, “Now we have to look at you each evening, even when there’s a good program on.” And there have been his notorious slips of the tongue, just like the time he tried to say “chilly air mass” and it got here out, “chilly mare’s ass.”
“The worst was in the course of the 1989 Jerry Lewis Telethon, after I tried to say Stouffer’s Tower Metropolis Plaza,” Goddard advised The Plain Vendor in 2011. (Tower got here out “bitter,” and the t got here alongside later.)
Itemizing the highest causes to be a tv meteorologist, Goddard joked that, “You possibly can by no means get misplaced – individuals are at all times telling you the place to go.” Being a climate forecaster, he would say, was being a part of “a non-prophet group.”
However along with his quiet authority and folksy humor, Goddard was the meteorologist Cleveland turned to, decade after decade, to navigate storm paths, jet streams and, sure, chilly air plenty. Breaking into the enterprise at a time when many weathermen clowned their manner by the forecasts, Goddard adopted a down-to-earth strategy to situations within the stratosphere.
“You have to notice that individuals take their climate very significantly round right here,” the “dean of Cleveland meteorologists” stated when his first guide, “Dick Goddard’s Climate Information for Northeast Ohio,” was printed in 1998. “There are some markets, like Phoenix or San Diego, the place the climate particular person has virtually nothing to speak about. However we’re in a latitude the place climate is knocking on the door virtually every single day.”
An Akron native, Goddard was born on Feb. 24, 1931. An solely youngster, he remained near his dad and mom, personally and geographically. His father died of a coronary heart assault in 1971. His mom died in 1996.
For the primary 10 years of his life, the household lived in Akron, on Firestone Blvd. The Goddards moved to a small farm in Inexperienced in 1941.
A Inexperienced Excessive Faculty graduate, Goddard acquired his earliest climate coaching within the Air Power. Throughout his Air Power profession, Goddard was chosen for a activity group accompanying the Atomic Power Fee on the March 1954 H-bomb detonation within the Pacific Islands. “It was there that I caught a glimpse of hell,” he stated. “I peered, together with half a dozen different Air Power meteorologists, into the pre-dawn pitch blackness towards the atoll of Bikini . . . Abruptly, at H- Hour, the sky to the east blossomed into the brightest excessive midday of summer season.”
Returning to Akron when his stint was up in 1955, Goddard spent 5 years with the Nationwide Climate Service, working throughout most of that point towards a nice arts diploma at Kent State College.
His job with the Climate Service was to broadcast experiences from Akron-Canton Regional Airport. Receiving his diploma in nice arts from Kent State in 1960, Goddard flirted with the concept of turning into a cartoonist or illustrator.
If the prevailing breezes had been blowing in the precise route, he might need adopted up on a telephone name inviting him to a job interview with the Walt Disney Studios. However not wanting to go away his mom, father and grandmother behind in Northeast Ohio, Goddard listened to a proposal from a Cleveland station government intrigued by his expertise broadcasting for the Climate Service from the airport.
Goddard signed a contract to forecast the climate at KYW Channel three (now WKYC). He made his tv debut on Could 1, 1961.
His first opponents within the Cleveland market had been Carolyn Johnson at WEWS Channel 5 and Howard Hoffmann at WJW Channel eight.
When he put his signature to that contract, John F. Kennedy had been president for lower than 4 months, “Gunsmoke,” “Wagon Practice” and “Have Gun, Will Journey” had been tv’s highest-rated reveals, and Individuals had been discussing the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
“I’ve flown in a hurricane,” Goddard advised The Plain Vendor in 2011. “I used to be on that first H-bomb take a look at. At 12, a twister got here by the farm in Inexperienced. I’ve flown the wrong way up with the Thunderbirds.
That was no massive deal. However the first time I went on the air, I used to be so nervous, my voice went up sufficient octaves to make Frankie Valli sound like he was singing bass.”
He had a 13-week contract, no tv expertise and a information director who didn't consider climate must be a part of a newscast. To make issues worse, Goddard’s debut featured the primary of many notorious slips of the tongue referred to as Spoonerisms.
Discussing a climate legend, he tried to inform viewers about croaking frogs. It got here out “froaking crogs.”
“I used to be unhealthy and I do know it,” Goddard stated. “On reflection, I feel the viewers saved me. They felt sorry sufficient to name in and say, ‘Don’t take him off. He’s so pitifully unhealthy, he’s entertaining.’ ”
That was hardly the key to Goddard’s success. He survived that terrifying begin, constructing confidence as he constructed up belief with Northeast Ohio tv viewers. And belief is an effective place to begin when explaining his sturdiness and recognition.
“Dick is just probably the most beloved and trusted character within the historical past of Cleveland tv, interval,” stated Tim Taylor, the anchor who labored with Goddard at WJW Channel eight for nearly 30 years. “To have lasted so lengthy in a enterprise that’s modified a lot through the years is a testomony to the truth that there’s not a phony bone in his physique. What you see is what you get. What comes by the lens is his innate kindness to each folks and animals.”
Taylor, who retired in 2005, additionally believes that chemistry had one thing to do with Goddard’s success – he was the precise weatherman for the precise city.
“When you make it in Cleveland, in case you take pleasure in your time right here and don’t have aspirations past right here, the folks settle for you and take you to their hearts,” Taylor stated in 2011. “You’ve got a job for all times right here. We billed the Channel eight information staff as Cleveland’s Personal, however Dick actually is Cleveland’s Treasured Personal.”
WJW sports activities achor John Telich labored alongside Goddard for 36 years.
“I’ll always remember how he made me really feel so welcome after I joined the station 40 years in the past,” he stated Tuesday. “He was an icon however he was the man who would make the runs to select up meals for us, and we might good-naturedly tear into him if something was incorrect on the order.”
At all times desirous to study extra about climate patterns and storm techniques, Goddard flew aboard an airplane into the attention of Flora, the 1963 hurricane that grew to become considered one of historical past’s deadliest.
Goddard’s historic run on Cleveland tv was briefly interrupted in 1965 when he agreed to maneuver to Philadelphia. He couldn’t heat as much as the Metropolis of Brotherly Love, nevertheless, and he was again in Cleveland after just a few months.
In 1966, Goddard signed with Channel eight, the place he remained for greater than 50 years. Everyone talks concerning the climate, however when Goddard was speaking about it, folks in Northeast Ohio listened.
Nationwide surveys by the Herb Altman Communications Analysis firm twice rated him the preferred climate forecaster in America. The January 2001 version of Ohio Journal named him “Ohio’s Finest Meteorologist.”
“I wasn’t Dick Goddard’s competitors,” stated Al Roker, the “At the moment” present weatherman who was at Channel three within the late ’70s and early ’80s. “I used to be simply in the identical market on the similar time. Cleveland was Dick Goddard’s city.”
Though vastly impressed by Roker’s work at Channel three, Goddard named longtime Channel 5 meteorologist Don Webster as his favourite competitor.
Webster’s successor at Ch. 5, Mark Johnson, a Northeast Ohio native who arrived at WEWS in 1993, grew up watching Goddard.
“Most of us did,” he stated. “He fueled my ardour for climate. He made the forecast essential a part of everybody’s day by day routine. Dick’s phrase was absolute belief. He was must-see TV on a regular basis.”
Goddard used his climate spots and his annual Woollybear Competition to remind pet homeowners to get their canines and cats spayed or neutered. A tireless champion for pet adoption, his Pet Parade characteristic on Channel eight discovered houses for numerous canines and cats.
“As soon as, a kitten obtained free earlier than one present and was misplaced within the station for 2 days,” Goddard recalled. “We discovered her in simply concerning the final place we may have appeared: the intensive videotape rack.”
Held every year in Vermilion, Goddard’s Woollybear Competition was Ohio’s largest single-day pageant.
A rabid sports activities fan, he loved serving for 32 years because the soccer statistician for the Cleveland Browns radio broadcasts.
Telich, WJW’s longtime sports activities anchor, recalled being within the sales space with Goddard throughout a type of video games.
“He had that grease board and was in fixed movement, writing the yardage down,” Telich stated. “He was very proud that his numbers had been useless on. He was an enormous sports activities fan, and in case you threw the title of any highschool within the state of Ohio at him he may provide you with their nickname or mascot.”
Within the 1960s, Goddard was an everyday member of the Ghoulardi All-Stars, the newbie softball and basketball groups that includes Channel eight celebrities and off-camera workers. Certainly, Ernie Anderson, the announcer who performed horror host Ghoulardi and arranged the All-Stars, took credit score for the station hiring Goddard.
As Anderson advised the story, he was so impressed by the way in which Goddard performed third base for Channel three’s staff, he lobbied Channel eight to convey him on board as Channel eight′s weatherman. So, in keeping with the person who was Ghoulardi, Goddard joined the station on an “athletic scholarship.”
Goddard additionally by no means gave up his curiosity in artwork, and his pleasant cartoons appeared in such books as “Dick Goddard’s Climate Information for Northeast Ohio” and the repeatedly up to date “Dick Goddard’s Almanac for Northeast Ohio.” In 2011, the yr he celebrated his 80th birthday and his 50th yr on the air, Goddard’s memoir, “Six Inches of Partly Cloudy,” was printed by Cleveland’s Grey & Co.
He typically talked of his admiration for Mark Twain’s writing, and his love of humor generally was exploited by his pal Chuck Schodowski, who would draft Goddard for a “Large Chuck and Lil John” comedy sketch.
“Again within the ’80s and into the ’90s, once we’d have information consultants are available, they at all times had been shocked to see how extremely fashionable Dick was,” Salyer stated of the sturdy meteorologist, cartoonist, writer and animal activist. “When you’re not from right here, you don’t get it. I keep in mind considered one of these guys pointing on the prime of a display screen and saying, ‘Now, your big-time guys are right here.’ Then he put his hand manner excessive of the display screen, within the air, and stated, ‘Dick Goddard is right here.’ That’s the way you clarify Dick’s recognition on this space. He’s off the chart.”
Goddard’s combat to guard animals was so passionate, state laws to reform animal abuse legal guidelines, Home Invoice 60, was dubbed “Goddard’s Regulation” in 2013. The invoice made it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly trigger hurt to a companion animal. “Goddard’s Regulation,” handed the Ohio Home of Representatives and Ohio Senate in Could 2016 with an awesome majority.
Gov. John Kasich signed it into regulation in and it went into impact on Sept. 13, 2016.
“The love for animals is real,” Goddard stated. “I’ve nice respect for quadrupeds. It’s the carbon-based mammalian bipeds which can be the issue on this planet.”
In December 2014, on the age of 83, Goddard re-upped his contract with Channel eight, signing a brand new two-year deal.
“Dick Goddard stays each a legend and fixture right here at Fox eight and on Cleveland tv,” Salyer stated on the time. “Northeast Ohioans clearly nonetheless have belief in him, his experience and his a few years of expertise as evidenced by our continued dominance in rankings and the way – when the climate will get unhealthy – Cleveland nonetheless turns to Goddard and his Fox eight climate staff. The trio of Dick Goddard, Northeast Ohio climate and Cleveland’s personal Fox eight are about as synonymous as you will get, and that’s the way in which it can stay.”
It’s the way in which it remained for a exceptional 55-year run, throughout which Goddard noticed numerous modifications in TV and forecasting expertise.
“We began out utilizing chalk, chalking the map for each broadcast,” Goddard advised The Plain Vendor earlier than turning 80 (that’s solely 27 Celsius, he was fast to level out). “After 4 years of that, I used to be on the verge of white lung illness.”
Over the a long time, the chalk was changed by tempera paint, wide-tipped pens, magnets and computer-generated screens.
“Know-how, with out query, has been the most important change,” Goddard stated. “These computer systems are simply unimaginable. There’s no such factor as a assured forecast, however the forecasts have grow to be rather more correct. However if you wish to be correct as a weatherman, go to San Diego or Yuma. You seldom miss.”
What didn’t change was Goddard’s grasp of tough Cleveland climate patterns.
“When you’re doing climate in Cleveland, and also you’re working with Goddard, it’s a must to take into account your self tremendously blessed,” stated meteorologist Andre Bernier, who joined the Channel eight climate staff in 1988. “You couldn’t ask for a greater instructor, or a nicer one. The 2 issues he taught me: Have a thick pores and skin and, as a result of the climate right here is so quirky, take note of your intestine based mostly on expertise. And Dick, after all, has extra expertise than anybody in that regard.”
However Goddard slowed down a step or two as he moved into his 80s. He reduce his time on the air. And, for 5 weeks earlier than his 82nd birthday, he was off their air due to knee alternative surgical procedure. By then, he was an outdated hand at knee alternative. He’d had the opposite knee carried out 18 years earlier than. Bernier, who has been with Channel eight since 1988, stuffed in for him.
By 2016, after 50 years with Channel eight, the 85-year-old Goddard had vastly diminished his on air- time as a climate forecaster. In Could of that month, WJW introduced that Goddard could be stepping away from meteorological duties that November.
“For 55 years I’ve been doing the climate and I’m gonna hold doing it as we go into November,” Goddard advised viewers on the time. “At that time, I’m gonna step away from the climate maps and we’re entering into complete animal welfare.”
Or, as Channel eight information director Andy Fishman put it, “He has seen his shadow, so we get six extra months of Goddard’s forecast.”
It was a protracted shadow, to make sure, and Goddard emphasised his persevering with presence as an advocate for animal welfare, rescue and adoption. His left the climate duties on the time to Melissa Myers, Bernier, Scott Sabol and A.J. Colby.
“In six months I’ll be going into hiding, however come out on the opposite facet as an animal advocate,” Goddard stated. “We’ve obtained to assist the four-foots.”
“It’s virtually not possible to measure what Dick Goddard has meant to Fox8, what he has meant to the folks of Northeast Ohio and what he has meant to the pets of Northeast Ohio,” Fishman stated.
His relationship with the general public was principally sunny, however there have been storm clouds in his personal life. A primary marriage resulted in divorce.
Tragedy struck in 1996 when his mom, Doris, died inside two weeks of Julie Ann Cashel, his girlfriend for greater than 20 years. Shut buddies described “Miss Julie” as “the love of his life.”
And in June 2003, police had been summoned to the Medina Township house of Goddard and his second spouse, Amber, whom he had married in December 1997.
The Goddards had met throughout a fund-raising occasion for the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Amber Goddard was arrested and charged with assaulting her husband. Goddard, who didn’t require medical consideration, stated on the time that he by no means meant for his spouse to be arrested and requested prosecutors to dismiss the domestic-violence case towards her, however they’d not honor his request.
She denied she was responsible and enrolled in a six-month court-supervised counseling program for first-time offenders.
The Goddards had been estranged for six months when the TV weatherman requested Medina County Home Relations Choose Mary Kovack to shut his divorce trial and seal the courtroom document. His causes had been that a messy public divorce would spoil his profession and completely harm his fame.
It was a uncommon request in Ohio, the place courts are presumed to be open and the information belong to the general public. In a written plea, Goddard claimed that his estranged spouse, who was 25 years youthful, deliberate to harm his fame and public persona with “gratuitous” allegations until he agreed to concessions. “Their mere utterance,” he stated, may spoil his title and profession.
He withdrew the request, and, in December 2003, the couple agreed to stipulate they had been incompatible. They had been divorced in July 2004. They remained buddies, nevertheless, and confirmed up collectively on the January 2008 annual Stroll for Epilepsy in Strongsville.
Though Goddard labored for many years to guard Northeast Ohioans from harmful climate, a Could 2014 storm practically price him his life in Could 2014.
The 83-year-old Goddard was caught in a flash flood close to his Medina Township house. He was considered one of two folks rescued after fast-rising water practically submerged their vehicles on the southbound exit to Ohio three from Interstate 71. The water quickly shut down the facility in his automobile.
Goddard positioned a 911 name and waited. He was trapped for about 45 minutes earlier than being rescued. By the point rescuers arrived in a rubber boat, the water in his automobile was as much as his neck. He was taken to Medina Hospital and handled for hypothermia.
“Don’t underestimate the facility of water,” he advised Channel eight viewers.
Goddard is survived by his daughter, Kimberly, who lives in Florida, the place he spent a part of the yr after retiring from Channel eight.
“I’m nonetheless engaged on the final chapter,” he stated whereas engaged on his memoirs. “I do know I’m going to make use of the Grantland Rice verse that completely summarizes a weatherman’s lot on life: ‘And now among the many fading embers, These in the primary, are my regrets, When I’m proper nobody remembers,
When I’m incorrect nobody forgets.’ ”
TV viewers remembered him way more kindly.
“One of the best factor about doing the climate is that you just’re acknowledged,” Goddard advised an interviewer within the late ’90s. “Individuals are so good to you – so good. I might miss that. You assume you don’t have an ego till folks don’t acknowledge you.”
Goddard not often needed to fear about that. Most individuals acknowledged him, and most acknowledged him as a good friend – a trusted good friend.
cleveland.com reporter Joey Morona contributed to this report