Viewers share their memories

These are comments emailed to WMC-TV5 by Dick Hawley fans, viewers, and co-workers.  Click here to share your thoughts with the Mid-South.

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What a sad day to learn of the passing of Dick Hawley. I sat and went back to the days of growing up in West Tennessee.  Always, it was great to watch him on WMC. He was always a model of what a news person should be, but more, he was a model of what a person should be and how a person should act. It was Dick Hawley that got me interested in doing television and today, I am doing movies and television, thanks to him. The early days of television, as I grew up in Jackson, were good ones.  I always remember watching afternoons, with Trent Woods and then the news with Mr. Hawley. He will be missed, but he leaves many fond memories.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dick Hawley. Like many thousands of other Memphians and Mid-Southerners, I literally grew up with Mr. Hawley's news and weather reports, and I quickly became sure that I could trust whatever he said. Mr. Hawley, you never let me (or us) down. Thank you, sir ! Although we are all grieving, especially Mr. Hawley's family, let's remember that Dick Hawley walked among us, and we are blessed that he did. May he rest in peace.  I hope he knew what he meant to us all.

I remember watching him as a child, he was always sincere and professional. He will be truely missed.

Dick Hawley gave me the inspiration to try my hand in the hand of broadcasting. From the very earliest years of watching him on TV  channel 5, I knew that I was destined for a career in the broadcasting field. Every summer day or holiday I was tuned into the news to see what he had to say. I remember one interview that I got the feeling he wished would have went better. He was to interview one of "Charlies Angeles" that was in town for something. He had her on the noon news interview. Every answer she had for him was very rude and you could tell she was not used to the openness of the South. As usual Dick handled it with the utmost diginity and breezed thru the entire interview  like a trooper. What a loss!

Thank you, Mr. Hawley, for introducing the land of television to my family all those many years ago.  Thanks to the foresight of our father deeming "television addictive" and "robbing our family of conversation", we were the last family in our neighborhood to have "one of them" in our home.  Dick Hawley represented television to us in a gentlemanly refined manner who could also make us laugh.  Needless to say, our dad warmed up to Channel Five because of all the additional topics of conversation it brought our way. Now that I am a grandmother I realize that yet another generation is enjoying Channel Five.  Dick  Hawley, you really started something with us! Thank you for your warmth and kindness even when we got sooooo excited when we saw you and Mr. Magic having lunch in Paulette's years ago!!!

Dick did many fashion shows for us at Lacledes,a fine womens apparel shop on Union. We would write the copy for him to read, then I would go over it with him to make sure that he got the names right. Laclede thought so highly of him that she would change the date of a show if there was a conflict with him. Only the finest French Champagne was served and the shows were quite a production. Berle Oldswanger always played the piano. Mt wife and I always watched the CH5 news at 10PM. Dick's wonderful barritone voice was addictive. After he quit doing the news we couldn't sleep well because we were so used to having HIS voice on before bedtime.

Please add my name to what must be hundreds of people who remember Dick Hawley as a talented, warm, genuine person. He really did cause me to look forward to wmctv viewing and listening for many years, with so much CLASS.  He was one of those folks, when they are gone, you say "I am so glad he was a part of my life", even if it was just on TV. There was something about him that made you feel you did know him.

Dick Hawley provided me and my family many happy moments when I was young.  Momma and Daddy would let me stay up each night until "Dick Hawley, Your Esso Reporter" had aired.  Dick Hawley WAS Channel 5.  To watch anything or anyone else would have been a sacrilege! With Dick's passing also passes the pioneering cachet Channel 5 had in the old days.  In addition to Dick, Channel 5 also had such stellar on air talent as Trent Wood and Dick Potter (what ever happened to him?).  Channel 3 had just Russ Hodges and Channel 13 was, well, Channel 13 (some things never change...).  Remember the old ID jingle "First In Color, TV5! (FOGHORN!) ???  Later, in the early 60's, Channel 5 had Norman Brewer.  The Seventies featured reporters such as Russell Ruffin, Carolyn Ogilvy and Ron Arline.  The Eighties had the yet to be matched anchor pairing of Mason Granger and Roger Cooper, and the Nineties briefly gave Memphis viewers the anchor duo of Paul Morrison and Susan Rodman. Dick enriched the lives of a great many people in Memphis over his long career and his passing is a loss to our community.  Wouldn't it be a wonderful tribute to his career and memory if Channel 5 created a Dick Hawley Memorial Award to be awarded annually to a local anchor or reporter who demonstrated extraordinary courage and effort in bringing an important news story to air that year?

What I remember the most about Dick, while he was waiting for a haircut when he was active on channel 5 many of my customers would recognize him. They would always ask isn't that Dick Hawley?  Even my little customers knew who he was. We all considered him quite a celebrity. Much to my surprise I saw someone talking to him I looked up front and was I embarrassed, it was my little Mother (now deceased) asking for his autograph. Needless to say he obliged. She was so proud and told everyone "I saw Dick Hawley of channel 5!!!!" He was always so nice and friendly to Mother from there on out.  She was his #1 fan.

Dick Hawley, Trent Wood, Dick Williams are what make up the memories for the people of the mid-south. They were just as much a part of our family as could be expected as in other home in the region. Deepest sympathy goes to the family for all our lose.

The year was 1959-60, i was a high school student at Messick High To earn money i had a Commercial Appeal newspaper delivery route. On that route lived Dick Hawley on Rhodes   RD., which turns into Quince going east. I would deliver his paper around 5.30 am, in those days we placed the paper on the front porch.  Many times he would meet me at the door an take the paper, thanking me. On Thursday Friday evenings, i would go to customers houses to collect for the weeks paper delivery. Mr. Hawley would always have the correct change to pay me. If  he was not going to be at home, he would leave the money in an envelope in the mailbox on the front porch. Christmas week of that year when i went to collect, he gave me a  $ 5.00 tip ,and a pair of gloves. When collecting, Dick would take a couple of minutes an talk to me, just like a father, encourage getting the most out of school, driving safely, treat all people with respect,ect. Little did i know that this young man ( early 30s)  would go on to become a television celebrity. We will all miss Dick, an i  feel that he was a mentor for me an probley many others. Just a few blocks from  his house an to the north on Audubon Dr.  lived  Elvis Presley's house,  i could see & hear them party some times outside while delivering his newspaper. not to be bothered they paid by the month. On Christmas week when i went bye to collect for the month ,one of the friends of Elvis answered the door, he did not have any small bills so he said hold on i will ask EL, he came back with a $ 20 dollar bill, i said i did not have change he said any one that gets up at 4am throws papers an then goes to school deserves a tip, then he told me wait just a minute, an i will get you a copy of  Elvis new record. He came back with a  bag of records, an said give some to your friends, an help push it.  I took them to school, an for a day I was the King! These are memories i will never for get, when my new grandson gets a little older i will share them with him. thank you for the chance to share Dick Hawley as i knew him.

Even though I live in Ripley, MS. I still fell like I lost a father. I remember him on WakeUp Call in the mornings before going to school.

To the Hawley family; Memphis has lost a voice that has been in many homes for over 40 years.I met Dick in 1984 at his wife`s tuxedo shop.We talked as if we knew each other for years; and at that time I was only 20. We know there will never be another Dick Hawley but it surely was a BLESSING to have had an opportunity to meet as he had on his licsence plate DICAULY.

I remember meeting  Dick in W Helena in the mid 1950s at a centennial clebration. We had just gotten our first tv shortly before this .I met Dick and thought he was larger than life' turns out he was . I saw him last year at Home Depot and he remembered being in W. Helena at that time . He was a gracious listener and a very fine man . May God go with him. David Brown no kin to Dave who is OK

I was gifted with meeting Mr. Hawley during some time I spent in broadcasting.  In our relatively brief time working on a production, he left me with an indelible impression one would expect from encountering both class and professionalism.   In an industry sometimes plagued by a lack of courtesy and an oversupply of ego, Dick Hawley struck me as someone totally at ease with himself and others.   Memphis definitely lost a part—an exemplary part—of  its personality this week.

To the staff at WMC: I appreciated your station paying tribute to one of our local television news pioneers and certainly someone I grew up watching on Channel 5 for as long as I can remember.  I'm referring of course to Mr. Dick Hawley and was saddened to hear of his death on Thursday. It was nice to see all of the old footage of him back in the early days of television and it brought back memories of how "older" black and white television used to look.  Time marches on and things change but we always have fond memories of our past.  Thanks again. Mr. Hawley, we will miss you.

I grew up near the intersection of Park Avenue and Highland in the 50's and 60's. I remember as a young boy getting my hair cut at the same barber shop Mr. Hawley and his son went to. I thought I was so cool going to the same barber as the local celebrity Dick Hawley. My prayers are with his family.


All I really want to say is that I remember growing up in the 60's and I used to help my grandfather out in his workshop. No matter what we were building or what we were doing everything stopped at noon so we could go and have lunch and watch the news with Dick Hawley. This brings back fond memories of Mr. Hawley as well as my Grandfather. My Grandfather did not believe the news until he heard it from Mr. Hawley.

My favorite memory of Dick Hawley is not my memory, but my Mother's memory.  She has told me the story many many times.  It must have been in the very early sixties when I was old enough to watch television but not yet old enough to remember the incident.  It was Christmas Eve and I was staying up as usual watching television.  It was getting late and Mother and Dad wanted to put my toys out and go to bed.  Mr. Hawley said during his weather broadcast "Santa Claus was orbiting the earth and wasn't going to land until all the children were in bed asleep".  Mother says that I jumped up and went to bed immediately. Thanks for the all the memories Mr. Hawley.

My grandmother was a Russina immigrant who never learned to read or write English even though she lived in the US from age 18 until age 90 when she died. Her language was Yiddish. She got her daily news from the TV and she particularly LOVED Dick Hawley. She called him, "Mine Esso Reporter" -- in those days, as I remember, the news was sponsored by Esso Oil Company. Thank you for your wonderful coverage and memories of his career.

I once worked in the Prescription department at Walgreens Drug Store. I remember looking up one day and seeing this very distinguished, tall man. All of a sudden, it dawned on me who was standing there. I said, "Aren't you THE Dick Hawley." He just laughed and said that he was. I grew up with him as a "visitor" in our home every day. I found him to be a true gentleman. Such a credit to combine gentleness with professionalism! I hope I grow up to be like him!

Mr.Hawley; Was the kind of a person that Santa could have learned character from. He had a TV presence that will be long remembered and missed. Heaven now has a very special angel.

Mr. Hawley was a "gentle giant". Once lived at a property I managed in Midtown.            Times I remember getting on the elevator with him,  he always had a smile, very kind and gentle person. May he rest in peace.

When you're only 4 or 5 years old, it seems the whole world is in your home town. That's how my brother and cousins felt growing up in Memphis. We thought McDonald's and Krystal's began here---after all, Elvis lived here. And Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room were here in Memphis too. They came to us in the same box that Looney Zoo with Trent Wood and Happy Hal's show did. So did Dick Hawley. And since he was in the same box with Walter Cronkite, well we just knew they were friends and everything that came out of their mouths was gospel. Even when there was bad news, coming from Mr. Hawley, it seemed bearable. He had our undying respect and we invited him into our living room every day. Then he and Peggy Rolfes woke us up every morning---what a way to start your day! I had the unforgettable opportunity as an adult to meet Mr. Hawley and Dick "Mr. Magic" Williams at a local grocery store--we were all just shopping. I'm only 5 feet tall and shaking hands with both of these gentlemen was an overwhelming experience. Mr. Williams was small in stature, but he was our Mr. Magic----the man we watched every weekend and his smile beamed! Mr.  Hawley towered over all of us, but he took my hand, bent down and looked me in the eye and expressed what a pleasure it was to meet me. Me! Believe me, Mr. Hawley, the pleasure was all mine. Thanks for your poise, grace and ethical presentation of the news of our world.

No matter what Dick Hawley was doing on WMCT, he was having a good time doing it. I don't remember catching him in a "bad mood." He was a person who always had things under control, and if he didn't, the viewer never knew it. He will be missed.

In the early 1970s, Mr Hawley came to Ripley, MS to judge a Jaycee's Beauty Contest.  I had been elected to pick him up at our small airport.  When he saw that I drove a 72 Mach 1 Mustang he ask, "Have you ever opened it up?"  I said I had.  He then ask if I would give him a fast ride.  He talked to the man who was in charge of the airport and got permission to use the runway. We buckled up and took a ride of a little more than 100 miles an hour down the strip.  He was laughing all the way.  At the end he looked at me and said,  "Always keep some excitement in your life because that is what keeps you young."  I don't know who was more excited about the whole experience myself on being in the car with Mr. Hawley or him with riding that fast.

Thanks to people like Dick Hawley, who filled our lives with entertainment , news , weather, and delivered  all with professionalism  and intergity. He was the first newscaster i can remember as a child, and is an icon for his fellow employees. God bless his family in their loss, and god bless him for what he added to all our lives. It is like losing a member of our own family, he had been with us so long. We shall all miss his most pleasant smile.

I remember when channel 5 was channel 4.  On live TV, Dick Hawley said OK, get ready, on the count of three change your channel from channel 4 to channel 5.  He counted, 1-2-3, I switched the channel and there he was on channel 5.  Dick Hawley said, Now, that did not hurt a bid, did it? I hurriedly switched back to channel 4 and all that was there was snow on the screen. That was sometime back but I remember it as if it were yesterday.


Dick Hawley is best described as the Walter Cronkite of the Mid-South.  I've missed him since he left the anchor desk at News 5, but like to think he's giving the best news update heaven has ever heard or seen.  You guys need to figure out how to get the satellite feed to him.

When I was growing up in Memphis, Dick Hawley WAS the news.  We always watched him.  To us he was the 'Walter Cronkite' of the Memphis area.  You just knew what he was telling you was true.  He will be missed.

I remember Dick as being a very fine man that help give channel 5 it's name.

For those of us who grew up in the Memphis area, Dick WAS TV news. We will remember him fondly.

I remember watching Dick Hawley soon after he came to channel 5.  I would watch the early show every morining with Dick and Peggy Rolfes.  I also remember the "Esso reports" he would do.  I remember him as being kind, gentle and always so perfect in everything he did.  I grew up watching him every day on the news when he co-anchored with Jane Segal and when Kim Clark would fill in.  Then he started doing the weather on the noon news.  I thought he was so handsome.  It really was a sad day when he retired from Channel 5. Memphis has truly lost a "giant" in the television world.  He will really be missed.  I just cannot stop crying.  I cannot believe he's gone. May he now rest in peace.  I know he's in heaven looking down on Channel 5 making sure everything is done just right . We'll miss you Dick.  I love you. With kind regards,


Mr. Television.... That seems an understatement considering who were talking about. He face, his voice, his charm seemed to draw you closer to your television set, even if you were not sure if you wanted to watch. I grew up looking and listening to Mr. Hawley. He seemed to so enjoy what he did. No matter the hour, the day, or the story, he just seemed to love what he did. WMC TV-5, it's a name that, in my opinion, is synonymous with excellence in the field of broadcasting, and Dick Hawley is one of the reasons why. For those who did not have the privilege to see him at work, you missed one of the hardest working men in television. And with all the things in our everyday lives, just the memory, the legacy of Dick Hawley will always stir fond and heartfelt memories of when news was the center of the day. You hung on every word, and those words taking you to places you had never even dreamed of going. The pulse of a nation, changing, rearranging, as quickly as you could think, but we could always rely on one man to walk with us, through good times and bad, the familiar as well as the new. And we could count on one thing, the professionalism and passion of Dick Hawley. He will be missed.

When I heard of Dick Hawley's passing, my heart sank.  I remember going to the TV station in the 60's (our school went) and we all got to meet Mr. Hawley and shake his hand.  He was a true gentle man and was always willing to answer any questions we had.  He even came and visited our girl scount troup back in the 60's and did a little plug for our troop on TV that evening for our cookie sales.  As I grew older and continued to watch WMC-TV5 Dick Hawley was always there telling the weather, and we always knew if Dick Hawley said it, it was the absolute truth, and you could always bank on his weather forecast. Dick Hawley was truly a legend in the TV industry and he will missed terribly.  I remember not too long ago seeing him on the eye commerials and thought that man has such a great voice, you never had any problem understanding what he was saying, his pronounciation of words was perfect and percise.  He truly paved the way for those now who are doing what he did best.  May God bless the Hawley Family in their loss, our prayers are with you.

I woke this morning and saw on your station that Dick Hawley had passed away. I'm writing this to tell you that I have watched Ch. 5 since 1959, when my family moved to this area. Ch 5 has always been, for whatever reasons, the station I have usually watched since I've lived here. His passing has deeply touched and saddens me. He was like an Uncle, a neighbor, a friend. Odd, but someone I had never seen personally or evan talked to. I'd like your other broadcasters/journalists to know, when you see one of us in Kroger or wherever, and we smile and say Hi, know that we let you in our homes and in our hearts. I always watch the morning show and Carrie McLure is like a little sister or even daughter, Ron Childers is like a neighbor next door. Mike Puchinelli reminds me of my best friend when I was growing up. Joe Birch is like a pal I might play touch football with. I even ran into Dave Brown once at a service station and I told him I wished I could see those old " Dialing For Dollars "  shows he did on Ch.13 in the 60's. He told me they were all gone. All of you in whatever way becomes part of our lives. To Mr. Hawley I'd like to tell him, I will miss you and to everyone there I'd like to say, take care and know you are apart of thousands of familys lives in Memphis.

I sure am in shock at the passing of Dick Hawley.  I remember Dick Hawley when he started in television.  I remember watching the Esso show and I remember when he first came to wmct as it was called back then.  He was so easy going and made sure everything and everyone was doing their part.  He truly was a legend in his time.  I remember when he did the weather on channel 5 and the news.  Then later he started doing the weather on the noon broadcast with Kim Clark, I think.  It truly was a sad day when he retired from channel 5.  But Dave Brown came along and boy did he have some big shoes to fill.  But he has filled them well. I'll miss seeing Dick Hawley doing the Eye Check commercials on tv and all the other spots he would run.  Memphis has truly lost a unique legend.  He was a legend in his own time.  I am truly saddend by his passing.  I just could not stop crying when I heard it.  I grew up with Dick Hawley and feel like I knew him personally.  He really will be missed by so many who really knew him and grew up watching him. We'll miss you Dick!  But we know that you're up there watching us down here and still making sure everything and everyone at channel 5 does their part and does it well.  I love you Dick.