A voice known by listeners around the Grand Lake region silenced this week, as Chris Weatherred - a long-standing radio personality at KGVE 99.3 FM died from complications from a lung infection.
Weatherred, best known as the voice of Tradio and the provider of on-air weather and news updates, served behind the microphone at KGVE for more than 25 years.
Weatherred was working for KGVE when current owner Larry Hestand purchased the station in 1992.
The pair worked together through the years, moving from turntables and vinyl records to digital recordings.
For at least the past 20 years, Weatherred was the voice behind the local Tradio program, helping connect listeners with people and things.
When Hestand and others conducted live remotes at events, Weatherred worked behind the scenes, helping to make things happen - with one exception.
Typically during the annual Jay Cruise Night, Weatherred pulled out his "tremendous record collection" and spun the tunes for people cruising around the Delaware County Courthouse.
"He knew music by memory," Hestand said. "He knew who did the original recording and when it was made, and who did the remakes and when they did it. He was absolutely [knowledgeable]."
D'ann Barton Mathia said Weatherred's love of music was contagious.
"I'll never forget the first live music 50s cruise night," she said. "He was hopping and bopping and leaped over the desk right on beat to set up the next set of 45s.
"[He was] an amazing DJ that had a magical presence on air."
Hestand said Weatherred lived his life "on the air," taking listeners along on his life's journey as he got married and raised a family.
"He lived a real life in front of people," Hestand said.
Hestand said the pair spent countless hours working together at the station - often more time together than with their spouses.
The pair developed a routine, doing jobs alongside of each other without a lot of conversation.
"He never had a whole lot to say, but he knew what he was doing and loved it," Hestand said. "And we loved having him do it."
Hestand said Weatherred's commitment to the community was evident in his actions.
"He was a class act," Hestand said. "He was the real deal. He made sure things got done.
"There's no words to convey to people what Chris meant to this community and to us. There was only one Chris."
During storms, Hestand said Weatherred would often come to the station, with his wife, Janet, and daughter, Nancy, in tow. With his family safe in the former bank vault, Weatherred would help keep listeners updated with the help of the National Weather Service.
"He loved his family, loved the station and loved the community," Hestand said. "For some people he was just a voice on the radio, but for us, he was more."
Former co-worker and friend, Debbie Stevenson, said Weatherred touched countless lives with his dedication. She remembers time when Weatherred stayed on the air non-stop in order to let people know about weather related emergencies.
"He made sure everyone in the listening area knew how to stay safe," Stevenson said. "He was an asset to the community. Irreplaceable."
Stevenson said she could always count on Weatherred for a smile, and for encouragement.
"He was always calm, he always had my back," Stevenson said. "He never let anybody down."
Former co-worker Matt Stamper agreed.
"I remember being snowed in with him, he taught me the boards, and how to record weather promos, pretty much taught me everything i knew," Stamper said. "It truly saddens me that he is gone, because the one thing that meant more than anything to him was life, and his family."
Tammy Ryan said Weatherred true self came out in his love for music and the radio.
"He was kinda quiet and shy at first, till you got to know him," Ryan said. "He was a loving, kind, compassionate person, with a huge heart.
"His family was his true heart and soul and loved doing things with them as much as he could, when not on the radio. But above else Because he truly cared, He was dedicated and it showed."
Longtime friend Teresa Lay, said Weatherred was a "wonderful man and an asset" to the community.
"I will remember his willingness to make sure that everything he was involved in was the best that it could be whether it was a radio spot, Tradeo, Cruise Night or just bringing the music and news to the people of Grove," Lay said. "I'll miss turning on KGVE and hearing his voice."
To help Weatherred's family, Lay started a Go Fund me site. It can be found: http://bit.ly/2h4Hfdf.
"He has been such a huge part of our community and I felt it was time to give back to his family," Lay said. "Debbie Stevenson contacted me the week before Chris passed away and we decided to do the page then.
"We never thought that he would pass away. We just wanted to help he and his family."
For now, Tanner Linn, a student trained by Weatherred, will step into his wake, to bring news and weather to the listeners of KGVE.
"After 25 years you become like family," Hestand said. "You don't replace Chris, instead you find a new way to achieve the same services to the community."
Services were pending, as of press time, under the direction of Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home of Grove.