R.I.P. Pete Wilson

My dear old friend Pete Wilson, a television legend in San Francisco, has passed away, and I am sad. He was only 62, and died of a massive heart attack during surgery for a hip replacement.

Pete and I were best friends during the 70s, when we both worked the morning shift at WTMJ-TV. I can honestly say I’ve never been closer to a man in my life than I was with Pete back then. We were inseparable, and since we were on the same schedule, our private lives were intertwined as well. Some weeks, we’d leave after the noon show and play golf Monday through Friday.

Pete was a terrific and passionate golfer. Big and strong, he could hit the ball a friggin’ mile and we were always competitive. I remember one round when I had him by a shot going to the last hole. He kept trying to psych me out, but I hit a great drive. We walked and laughed, and Pete seemed resigned to the fact that I was going to beat him. My ball was up the left side of the fairway, about 20 yards in front of a big bunker and 120 yards from the pin. He walked with me and then headed to his ball 20 to my right. As he left, he said, “Don’t hit it in the bunker,” which I then proceeded to do. I bogied the hole. He made birdie and beat me by a stroke. Damn.

I also remember a Christmas morning when we were both working. Cognizant of the reality that nobody was watching the 6am news on Christmas day, Pete brought his famous holiday egg nog. It was mighty tasty at 4am, but it also went straight to the brain on an empty stomach. I’ll never know how he got through the newscast.

Pete, I love you and I pray that God is holding you now in His everlasting arms. May you rest in peace, my dear friend.

Comments

  1. I am absolutely shocked by this news. Pete was always bigger than life, one of those people that filled up any room he walked into. I first saw Pete when cable TV came to Fresno back in the ’70’s. One of the out of market stations we suddenly had access to was an Indy out of Sacramento with Pete Wilson doing the news at 10pm every night. His studio was an old couch with a coffee table and some plants in the background. Pete would hold his script in his hands lean forward and just “tell” you the news. The script was there just to remind him the order of the stories. He was mesmerizing. I was a young news director back then and thought he was one of the best anchors I had ever seen. Shortly after that he was in S.F. where I would work with him briefly thirty years later. A great guy and a great talent and a huge loss.

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