Jerry Taft, ABC7 meteorologist for 33 years, dies at 77 – WLS-TV

CHICAGO (WLS) — Jerry Taft, who served as a meteorologist at ABC7 for 33 years before retiring in January 2018, died peacefully Thursday night surrounded by family members. He was 77 years old.

Jerry is survived by his wife Shana and his children Skylar, Storm, Dana and Jay.

While reflecting on his career when he retired from ABC7, Jerry said he did not intend to become a television meteorologist and became interested in meteorology from flying airplanes.

He was a captain in the Air Force in Texas when he took the local weatherman in San Antonio up for a publicity flight for the military. Then, that weatherman turned the tables and put Jerry on the air.

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“They said we’ll give you fourteen-fifty. I figured $1,450 a month, bought new suits. It was $14.50 a show. Got my first check, it was $62,” he said.

Jerry was well-known for his sense of humor and his ability to laugh at mistakes.

Jerry came to Chicago to work for NBC and moved over to ABC7 in 1984.

We extend our condolences to the Taft family.

ABC7 Chicago Friends Remember Jerry Taft

Jerry’s colleagues at ABC7 shared some of their memories of him Friday morning.

Tracy Butler recalled his work with the March of Dimes Sunshine Rally.

“Jerry was dedicated to the March of Dimes for decades and the Sunshine Rally was a rally where we would all gather in the month of April and meteorologists from throughout the Chicago area would come together and give a forecast for the big March of Dimes Walk. Jerry spearheaded this for years and I know he is so well respected by meteorologists in this city and around the country as well.

Roz Varon recalled his famous laugh.

“I can hear it, I will always hear it. You will never forget it because it was so infectious. He’d start laughing, you’d start laughing and you couldn’t stop laughing,” Varon said.

At the time of Jerry’s retirement, Alan Krashesky said, “One of the things that makes him so approachable is the fact that he doesn’t take himself seriously, he’s taking what he does professionally seriously, never himself.”

Also speaking when Jerry retired, Kathy Brock shared, “People remember the laugh, I don’t know how many newscasts there have been where he gets the giggles.”

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