Robert Reese was more than just a coworker. He was the guy who was the first to ask how you were doing, to tell you a joke and share a story, even when he was very sick. We were lucky to have him on our air and in our lives.
For years, Robert told us when to wear a coat, when to take cover and when to drive with the top down. Robert started in 1998. His first co-anchor was Gabrielle Martin.
"There was no "on-air" personality. That was Robert."
You could tell immediately how much he cared about getting our viewers the information they needed. Judy Fraser worked side-by-side with Robert for more than a decade.
"When it came to the serious business of weather-casting, there was no one to compare. He was validated. He was credible. He was respected by everyone, including me."
But, he was more than just a weatherman. His love for the funny came through right away. He was not afraid to say anything, do anything, or in his Robert on the Road segments, try anything. He truly would do anything for a friend.
"He came to a Hootie Hoo day with me once and he said to me, 'I can not believe I'm doing this.'"
What he did do was bring happiness to people who didn't always have it. He hosted MDA telethons, and visited camp because he knew how much it meant to the kids.
"He just had a knack for drawing them out because he was funny. He just has that magic elixir that would make people open up."
And that was was true of anyone he met. You were a friend for life. You were the most important person in the room, and if you weren't laughing, Robert hadn't done his job.
"I don't think he understood the impact he had on people in Central Illinois."
Of course, above everything else, Robert was a great husband and dad. His wife, Pam, and her children and his daughter, Rachel, and Robert's grand-kids thank everyone for their love and support through this very tough time.