Cleveland - All of Northeast Ohio mourning the loss of one of the most iconic television personalities in it's history.
Dick Goddard passed away Tuesday at the age of 89. His daughter confirming the news.
Goddard was born in 1931 during the Great Depression, in what is now known as Green, Ohio in Summit County.
After graduating from Green High School in 1949, Goddard began his weather career while taking classes on meteorology during a stint with the United States Air Force from 1949 through the early 1950s.
During this time, Goddard's most notable assignment was forecasting for atmospheric nuclear weapons tests by the United States Atomic Energy Commission in the Pacific.
He then attended Kent State University, where he majored in drama and broadcasting. While there he had notable success as the lead character, Curly, in the school's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
After graduating from Kent State in 1960, he joined the weather team at Westinghouse Broadcasting-owned KYW-TV (now 3 News) in Cleveland a year later.
Goddard was one of several employees of KYW-TV who agreed to move to WRCV-TV in Philadelphia in June 1965, after Westinghouse was allowed by the FCC to reverse a station trade with NBC in 1956 based on coercion in order for Westinghouse to retain their NBC affiliations; the KYW calls also moved back to Philadelphia. However, Goddard did not take a liking to Philadelphia, and returned to Cleveland several months later.
In 1966, Goddard became the chief meteorologist at WJW-TV (Fox 8), where he would work for the remainder of his career.
After returning to Cleveland, Goddard also was employed with The Cleveland Browns as the team's official statistician for home games. He held this position from 1966 to 2011, with the exception of a three-year period from 1996–1999 when the franchise was suspended as the old Browns franchise moved to Baltimore.
In 1973 Goddard created the first Woollybear Festival, a day-long family event dedicated to teaching children about the weather, family fun, and animals. Some of the events include a caterpillar race, animal costume contests, and musical performances.
From August 1977 to January 1979, Goddard also hosted WJW's version of Bowling for Dollars, a syndicated franchised game show. He has also appeared in numerous skits on WJW's popular Big Chuck and Lil' John Show over the years, and did occasional stage work.
In honor of Goddard's 50 years on Cleveland TV, the portion of South Marginal Road (the southern frontage road of the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway) in front of the WJW studios was renamed "Dick Goddard Way" on May 23rd, 2011.
Goddard was an outspoken opponent of animal abuse. "Dick Goddard's Law", a bill to increase the severity of penalties for abuse, was introduced into the Ohio General Assembly in 2013 and reintroduced in 2015. The 2015 version was signed into law on June 13th, 2016.
On May 18th, 2016, Goddard announced that he would retire from his weather duties in November 2016, while continuing his animal advocacy and remaining host of the Woollybear Festival. He delivered his last forecast on the station on November 22nd, 2016, with the station's weather center renamed for him.
On behalf of everyone at WTAM 1100, our thoughts and prayers are with the Goddard family as we all salute and say goodbye to one of the best to ever grace our TV screens.
Photos by: Ray Davis / WTAM 1100
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