Friends and colleagues of Dale Munson said the former TV weatherman's infectious laughter and ready smile could always raise their spirits.
“You could be having a real down day, and then you'd meet up with Dale, and everything turned around,” said former anchorman Gary Kerr, who worked with Munson for more than 25 years at Omaha's Channel 6. “He had this wonderful laugh and this great smile. If you were around him any time at all, you got to be part of that.”
Munson, 81, died Thursday at St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln after suffering a heart attack while at his daughter's home in Lincoln. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Omaha's Lutheran Church of the Master, 2617 S. 114th St.
Munson was not a trained meteorologist, but his reputation for accuracy and his calm, reassuring demeanor served him well.
“I can remember many nights we'd be working together when severe weather hit and he would be very serious,” Kerr said. “He always wanted everyone to get the very best information possible.”
Munson was born in Red Wing, Minn., and attended high school in Cannon Falls, Minn. He spent three years in the Army, serving in the Philippines with the Armed Forces Radio Network. He earned a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota, where he met his wife of 54 years, Kay.
The couple moved to Mason City, Iowa, where Munson worked as a disc jockey before becoming a TV weather forecaster. The Munsons came to Omaha in 1963 after he accepted a job at WOW radio and WOW-TV, now WOWT.
Kay Munson said the biggest weather event in her husband's career was the May 6, 1975, tornado that struck Omaha, including their Westgate neighborhood. Somehow her husband talked his way into getting a motorcycle ride to make sure their house was OK.
The Munsons both sang with the Omaha Symphonic Chorus. He also would stage monthly sing-alongs to entertain residents of the Good Samaritan Home.
“Dale's faith was very strong and very important to him,” his wife said. “I can recall coming down to the kitchen at 6 in the morning and there he'd be, reading the Bible before work.”
Munson retired from Channel 6 in 1991 and, two years later, began working as an announcer for KVNO radio. His wife said that job, which Munson held for about six years, was “a godsend” because of her husband's love of classical music, especially Mozart and Bach.
Joe McCartney, a close friend and founder of an Omaha public relations firm, walked a two-mile circuit with Munson every morning at Westroads Mall. Munson, he said, was always gracious when he was recognized by the public.
“I never heard him say a harsh word about anyone, even to people who were sometimes verging on rude,” McCartney said. “He was just a delightful man.”
Besides his wife, Munson's survivors include his daughters, Ann Hegarty of Bellevue and Ruth Maguire of Lincoln; brother Howard Munson of Winona, Minn.; and seven grandchildren.
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