YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Now that the services honoring the life of First News Chief Meteorologist Don Guthrie are over, it is his legacy that will live on.
At a prayer service Friday, Don’s son spoke about his father and shared a quote from Don. “Anybody can do just enough to keep a job; it takes a special person to do it the right way.”
There’s no doubt about it, Don was a special person to many in hundreds of ways.
Many described Don as loving and dedicated, saying he always had a smile on his face. He was also the consummate professional.
“You always think of Don, at least when you work here, maybe not necessarily as the weatherman. Don just kind of had his own persona. Don was Don. He was the friendliest guy in the world,” said Dave Coy, general manager WKBN TV 27.
Don’s charisma and passion for forecasting were abundantly clear in every forecast. He took phones calls from viewers like roofer Ronald Braho whose livelihood depends on the weather.
“He cared. That is the whole main thing. When he did the weather, he cared. He didn’t want anybody to get hurt. He didn’t want anyone in harm’s way,” Braho said.
Even when he wasn’t at work he was on top of his game. Former colleague Gina Marinelli said Don took his work home and knew exactly what the weather was going to be.
“He knew when to come in early. He knew what was going to happen,” Marinelli said.
Don wanted to be sure WKBN 27 First News viewers knew how to plan their day and stay safe during a storm. His smooth and calming voice helped Mackenzie Pasco get over her fear of storms.
“I’m not worried about them. If it is a giant storm, I’ll get a little freaked out, but Don helped me,” Mackenzie said. “I’ll sit outside with my dad and just watch the storm.”
Don’s genuine care didn’t stop when the cameras were off – it was constant.
“He wanted to know how everyone was doing and where you were that day. Where did you travel to,” said former WKBN 27 First News reporter Roxann Sebest.
“Kind of the guy everyone had a lot of faith in, He seemed to be everywhere helping everybody,” said YSU President Jim Tressel.
Everyone was there to rally behind their favorite weather guy with cards, letters, hugs and prayers. And it all gave Don more motivation to fight. He persevered through the pain and never complained.
Don Guthrie will always be remembered as Youngstown’s weather guy, but also the man who showed us what it means to never give up – staying Don Strong until the end.
Don has been an inspiration to all of his colleagues at WKBN 27 First News and to so many viewers at home.