One of the great things about the internet is its ability to help people connect across many miles and years. Recently I mentioned a radio news director from Raleigh who had a reputation for ad libbing long stretches of news with poise, precision and a big booming voice. Bob Farrington worked in Raleigh for more than 20 years at WPTF. After mentioning his name in a Carolina Conversations blog one of Bob’s former co-workers Bart Ritner emailed Bob and Bob then emailed me. Bob, who is now retired and living in Florida, and I have exchanged several emails in recent weeks and it has been fun to catch up. I asked Bob to share some pictures and memories.
Bob Farrington is still a great storyteller as you will see in this recent message:
Sorry I have been away from the computer for a couple of days.
I appreciate your interest in this old has been. I was in Raleigh for just over 20 years before moving to the Bahamas in 1983 to fly for a company engaged in measuring gravity for oil exploration.
One of my favorite experiences occurred as I was transitioning from broadcasting to full time flying. I was hired to pilot Jim Graham and Thad Eure to a political rally in Wilmington. On the way down, Eure (around 80 at the time) had not been feeling well, but as soon as he saw the audience of party faithful, he just came alive and rolled right into his old favorite theme, "I was born a Democrat, I have lived a Democrat and when I die the first thing I plan to do is ask St. Peter where can I register as a Democrat?"
After he finished and the cheering faded, I slipped up beside him and asked, "Mr. Eure, you know I'm flying you back to Raleigh tonight?"
"Yes, Bob," he replied, "and I think you are an excellent pilot."
"You do know I am a registered Republican......"
"Yes Bob, and I've never held that against you personally."
When I became news director of WPTF, one of my first duties was to take over the program, "The Legislative Day" which had been originated decades before by the legendary Carl Goerch. I was overwhelmed. All those members of the General Assembly. How to know who was who. I happened upon a little book published by the telephone company which had a picture of every legislator. I sat up nights practicing. By the time they arrived I knew every one of them at a glance. It took years to understand what they did and how they did it.
My second career was in aviation. I was the captain of a charter jet based in Greensboro for 10 years. My wife Linda was my co-pilot. We flew to almost every state, all across Canada, throughout Central America and the Caribbean and out to Bermuda. Linda retired and I continued to instruct in corporate jets for another 10 years before settling in Port St. John - a small community just across the river from Cape Kennedy.
Linda died suddenly in June, so it's been a bit tough around here lately.
As you can see from the attached pictures, I lost my innocence in Raleigh and my hair at the controls of an airplane. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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