By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – For most of the last half-century, Chet Curtis was a trusted, well-liked source for the news on Boston TV.

Chet passed away on Wednesday at age 74.

But in a way, he is still delivering the news – news you can use, you might say – in the form of his instructive, uplifting life story.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

As his friend and former co-worker Emily Rooney noted in an interview Thursday, Chet’s mother died soon after he was born, and at age 15 he found his father dead at home, leaving young Chet to be raised by an uncle.

His adult life wasn’t a smooth ride either, with two failed marriages and, at the end, a devastating battle with pancreatic cancer.

But despite those ordeals, Chet Curtis was one of the friendliest, sunniest people you’d ever want to meet.

His death unleashed an outpouring of fond memories from close friends, casual acquaintances, and folks who only knew him from TV, all of whom were taken with his easy manner, charm and thoughtfulness.

Chet appears to have been a mentor to dozens, if not hundreds of people in the business. As a young reporter who encountered him with more than a little awe, I can attest to his personal warmth and down-to-earth personality.

Touching people in this way is not as easy as it may sound. Pope Francis just gave an interview in which he warned that the internet “can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us,” and isn’t that the truth.

At what are sure to be a jam-packed wake and funeral for him next week, Chet Curtis will break his final news story – that if you reach out with warmth and kindness, you can break through that isolation, and be remembered when you’re gone in the way we all would hope to be.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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