Jim Williams, Rest in Peace

Jim Williams, one of my mentors, has passed away at the age of 91. His full obituary is here. Jim served the people of Oklahoma with groundbreaking weather coverage for 32 years.

WKY TV (now KFOR) was the #1 television station in the Oklahoma City market in 1971. WKY was the organization that invented tornado warnings and it had an outstanding reputation for severe weather coverage -- thanks in large part to Jim. He received an award for outstanding severe weather coverage from the American Meteorological Society.

In '71, while a meteorology student at the University of Oklahoma, I heard WKY was looking for a part-time meteorologist. Since almost all meteorologists want full-time work, I thought there was a slight chance they might consider hiring me. Unbelievably, even though I was only 19, Jim took that chance. His kindness led to a television career that lasted until 1993 when I took myself off the air to run WeatherData, Inc., the company I had founded, full-time.

Mike Morgan (current chief meteorologist of KFOR) was kind enough to send the photo of Jim (above) in front of one of the maps on the weather set. I'll never forget the hours of drawing maps with liquid chalk, using an X-Acto knife and art film, and moving around magnetic symbols in that era to create graphics that would inform. While at WKY I learned to use three different weather radars and their strengths and weaknesses. Jim had an encyclopedic knowledge of weather.

So, rest in peace Jim. Your career saved lives and made life better for people throughout Oklahoma.


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