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Dick Goddard, Legendary Cleveland TV Weatherman, Dies at 89 of COVID

Goddard was a beloved on-air figure in northeastern Ohio for nearly 60 years

Dick Goddard, the longtime TV weatherman in Cleveland who became a local legend, died Tuesday at age 89, his daughter announced on Facebook.

In June, Kimberly Goddard confirmed that her father had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Akron native worked for the National Weather Service in the 1950s before starting as a weatherman at Cleveland’s NBC station in 1961. Five years later, he jumped to WJW, where he spent the bulk of his career and built up a loyal following for his genial onscreen persona and public advocacy for animal causes.

“There is no way to measure his contributions to our television station or our community,” WJW-TV Vice President and General Manager Paul Perozeni said in a statement. “Simply put, WJW-TV is the house that Dick Goddard built.”

He continued to be a big draw for the station, signing a new multiyear contract with the station just last year.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the late Ernie Anderson — the father of director Paul Thomas Anderson who played horror host Ghoulardi at Channel 8 — took credit for hiring Goddard because he had seen him play third base for rival Channel 3’s amateur softball team.

He soon became a solid ratings draw for WJW and a steady and reliable on-air presence during Cleveland’s notoriously challenging winters. His advocacy for animal issues — from pet adoption to spaying and neutering pets — led to the 1973 creation of the annual Woollybear Festival in Vermilion, Ohio, a family event each October that grew to be the largest one-day festival in the state.