Friday, June 19, 2009

RIP Gary Papa

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of 6ABC sports anchor Gary Papa, who passed away today.

"It is with deep sadness that the Channel 6 family says goodbye to our friend and colleague Gary Papa," 6ABC said in a news release. "Gary ended his five year battle with cancer today, with his family by his side.

"While Gary’s job was to cover sports teams, he was always a most valuable player, and for the past five years, Gary has been an inspiration and symbol of hope to so many. Through treatments…through surgeries…through every painful medical procedure, Gary showed extraordinary courage and strength and a continued concern for those around him. "

“The Channel 6 family has suffered a great loss today,” says Bernie Prazenica, President and General Manager - 6abc. “Gary was such a unique and universally loved individual. Words cannot describe the deep sadness within the 6abc family. Our hearts go our to Gary’s wife,
Kathleen, his two sons, Nathaniel and Tucker, and to the entire Papa family.”

Action News anchor Jim Gardner added, “Needless to say, all of us who have worked with Gary and who loved Gary are devastated tonight. Most of us knew this day would have to come eventually, but there’s no way to really prepare. There is an enormous hole in our hearts, almost as enormous as was Gary’s spirit, his devotion to his work, and to all of you. Our thoughts are with Gary’s wife Kathleen, and his two sons, Nathaniel and Tucker. It will never be quite the same around here, but we have a job to do, and we will do it just as well as Gary would expect
and demand. We often refer to the Action News family. Tonight, that family encompasses the entire tri-state area as we mourn the loss of a loved one.”

Papa joined Action News on April 15, 1981, as the weekend sportscaster, and weekday sports reporter. On December 1, 1983, he became host of “Prime Time,” the magazine format program that aired on 6abc until 2008.

Gary was born in Buffalo, New York, and is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Political Science. He also is a graduate of University of Buffalo Law School. Prior to joining WPVI-TV, Gary served as Weekend Sports anchor with WGR-TV (now WRGZ-TV) in Buffalo, New York, and as a news anchor with WSTV-TV, Steubenville, Ohio.

In 2007, Gary Papa was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s “Hall of Fame.”


Reaction:

Jeffrey Lurie: “On behalf of the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization, I am deeply saddened to learn of Gary’s passing today. Gary Papa was a centerpiece of sports coverage in the Philadelphia area for many years. I will always remember him for the energy and passion he brought to his profession, especially during some of the toughest times of his battle with cancer. WPVI and the entire Philadelphia region lost an icon today. Our condolences go out to his wife, Kathleen, his two sons, and his entire family at WPVI.”

Ed Snider: “We are all deeply deeply saddened to learn of the passing today of one of our good friends, Gary Papa. He was a long-time broadcaster who always spoke positively of our organization and brought our teams' highlights into the homes of millions of our fans. Gary was a fighter, he gave it his all. He was one of the good guys. We will always remember him for his passion for sports and his dedication to the sports scene in Philadelphia. Our condolences go out to his wife, Kathleen, his two sons, and his entire family at Action News.”



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