Friday, January 19, 2001

Crowd mourns Braun's passing

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MADEIRA — Walter Scarborough choked back tears Thursday as he reminisced about Bob Braun.

[photo] About 1,500 mourners paid respects to radio and TV icon Bob Braun at his funeral Thursday.
(Michael E. Keating photos)
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        Standing in the lobby of St. Paul United Methodist Church following funeral services for Mr. Braun, the Avondale man recalled the day in 1965 when he first met the broadcast legend.

        “I was the first black photographer to be hired at Channel 5,” Mr. Scarborough said. (Mr. Braun was co-host of the 50-50 Club with Ruth Lyons at the time.)

        “I remember when he came to me and said, "Welcome to Channel 5.' Nobody else said that.”

        Mr. Scarborough was among some 1,500 who paid respects to the radio and TV icon. Mr. Braun, 71, died Monday of cancer and Parkinson's disease.

[photo] Rob Braun, news anchor for WKRC-TV (Channel 12), recalled his father as being “a confidence-builder.”
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        Remembrances from friends, relatives, co-workers and fans focused on the man behind the camera, not the on-screen personality.

        “He was probably the only person I know who could draw a crowd by standing on a street corner,” said Don Herman, a newscaster for WSAI-AM when Mr. Braun hosted a talk show in 1999.

        “... Behind the radio and television personality, you saw a straightforward man who had a common man's touch.”

        James Francis Patrick O'Neill, a broadcaster for WLW-AM and WSAI from 1967 to 1981, talked about the authenticity Mr. Braun brought to the broadcast industry.

[photo] Wray Jean Braun (center), Bob Braun's wife, talks with mourners.
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        “The thing that made him stand out was that you knew he was no phony,” Mr. O'Neill said. “He was sensitive to people's feelings. He was a good family man, and he had a very good work ethic.”

“10-talented person”

        From the pulpit at St. Paul on Thursday, the Rev. Gene Wells talked about the dash between April 20, 1929 and Jan. 15, 2001, Mr. Braun's life span.

        “That dash between those dates is most important in anybody's life, and I can tell you Bob Braun filled that dash with excitement,” the Rev. Mr. Wells said. “Some people have two talents. Some have three or five. I suspect Bob Braun was a 10-talented person.”

[photo] Rob Braun greets singer Ruby Wright, a singer on Bob Braunšs 50/50 Club and the Ruth Lyons Show from 1955 through 1969.
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        According to the Rev. Mr. Wells, character is revealed in the way a person faces adversity. He said the way Mr. Braun faced cancer and Parkinson's disease was a display of unusual faith.

        “While facing that adversity, we saw his faith in a living God, a faith based on his love for family, his work and other people. We saw him battle with this faith while the diseases took a strong radio-television voice down to a whisper, but his faith never left him.”

        One of the service's most touching moments came when his three children, Rob, Doug and Melissa, read letters titled “Thanks, Dad.” The three talked about growing up in a home filled with love and confidence.

        “He was a confidence-builder,” said Rob Braun, news anchor for WKRC-TV (Channel 12). “He never asked us if we could do something. It was, "When are you going to do it?' It didn't matter if it was learning to ride a bicycle, drive a car or learning how to swim. He had confidence that we could do it.”

        A private burial at Spring Grove Cemetery in Winton Place followed the funeral service.


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