BOSTON (CBS) – After working with legendary television anchor Jack Williams for many years, WBZ’s Dan Rea refers to Williams as “Pocatello, Idaho’s gift to New England.”

Now, as Williams prepares to retire after 40 years on the anchor desk, many of his former colleagues recall the impact he had on Boston.

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Liz Walker was Jack’s co-anchor when the popular duo was known simply as ‘Jack and Liz.’

“You know Jack Williams, you have grown up with him,” said Walker. “You know who he is, so you can trust what he has to say, and I think that is important in television.”

Walker said the former “Eyewitness News” team had a great run.

“That era was magical.  Nobody took themselves too seriously; we took our jobs seriously. But we liked each other and we respected each other,” she said.

Retiring WBZ anchor Jack Williams. (WBZ-TV)

Retiring WBZ anchor Jack Williams. (WBZ-TV)

Rea recalled how Jack shined during big stories.

“When you had 9-11, when you had the Charles Stuart Case, the Boston Marathon story, those big stories really compelled us to watch TV.  Jack was most often the guy at the anchor desk who had the contacts,” said Rea.

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Watch: Thanks For 40 Great Years, Jack

Williams’ trademark professionalism ran the gamut of topics, according to former Arts and Entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik.

“When one of us looks good, we all look good. And he got that loud and clear,” said Kulhawik. “He was the consummate professional when it came to the team spirit.”

Williams is also known for his quick sense of humor. It’s often his greatest asset.

“Jack is one of the funniest men I know,” said Walker. “I don’t know if that comes out on TV very often, but he is a hoot.”

Former Sports Anchor Bob Lobel added, “He should have been a game show host. No doubt about it.  He was Bob Barker before there was Bob Barker.”

Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes during 4th of July coverage. (WBZ-TV)

Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes during 4th of July coverage. (WBZ-TV)

But in the end, Jack was an award winning journalist who traveled the globe to bring the story home.

Cumulatively, his career represents a lifetime of experiences that gave Bostonians a rare insight into the world around us.

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“When you have a strong work ethic, excellent study habits and journalistic integrity built up over the course of decades, and in one market place, that’s why he is such a jewel, such a priceless Boston jewel,” WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller said.