When Greg Gamer delivered his final evening newscast on KSN in 1986, fans of the longtime anchor said they’d miss him.
“The thing I like about Greg is that he is always so pleasant,” viewer Dorothy Meals told a Wichita Eagle reporter at the time. “He has a good news program that is not as lurid as some of the others.”
Mr. Gamer, one of the longest-running anchors in Wichita television history, died Tuesday. He was 85.
“He was the ultimate gentleman – always polite to people, always interested in what they had to say,” said Mike Smith, founder of WeatherData Inc., who worked with Mr. Gamer for more than a decade as the on-air meteorologist at KSN, Ch. 3.
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“Greg and I occasionally went to dinner between shows, and people would come up and sometimes say crazy things, but Greg would always listen,” he said.
“He was always patient, and he had none of the ego that you might expect from someone who had done as well as he had in the field. A nicer man, you have never met.”
Mr. Gamer was born in Emporia and grew up in Wichita. He began his television career as a booth announcer for KAKE-TV, Ch. 10, two days before it went on the air in October 1954. A year later, he won awards for his coverage of the 1955 Udall tornado.
In 1966, he left KAKE to anchor evening newscasts at KARD-TV, which later became KSN. Over the years, he interviewed news makers and celebrities, including Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Gamer was the first journalist in Wichita to poll voters to predict election outcomes.
Al Buch, retired general manager of KSN, said he remembers arriving in Wichita from Miami in 1987 and learning quickly that Mr. Gamer was a television institution.
“The thing that stood out for me was, ‘Here’s the quintessential anchorman who knows the town, knows the community,’” Buch said. “He was the champion of everything that television news should be all about.”
Stephanie Bergmann, news anchor at KSN, said she worked with Mr. Gamer briefly when she was a college intern and operated the teleprompter for his morning and noon news programs.
“I was so nervous because he was such a Wichita icon,” Bergmann said. “I was so scared that I would screw up, and he was just so kind and professional.
“He was so good at what he did. He was unflappable. And I always thought, ‘Gosh, for someone to have reached that point in his career and to be so sweet to a nervous, goofball college kid like me – that just always impressed me.”
Mr. Gamer spent 25 years at KSN, retiring in 1991 after 37 years in Wichita news.
A rosary for Mr. Gamer will be held at 10:30 a.m. and a memorial service at 11 a.m. Monday at Church of the Resurrection, 4910 N. Woodlawn in Bel Aire. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to The Lord’s Diner, 520 N. Broadway in Wichita.