A Celtic Sojourn in Memory of Valerie Gunderson

From QuickNooz

Friends and fans of our late WGBH colleague Valerie Gunderson are invited to a special event: A CELTIC SOJOURN in memory of Valerie Gunderson Osiecki, Sat, 10/28 in WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio.

The evening is part of a fundraising effort for the scholarship fund established in Valerie’s name by her husband Ted Osiecki and managed by The Cape Cod Foundation.

Fittingly, the scholarship supports college-bound high school seniors from Cape Cod or the Islands who are pursuing degrees in the arts, as Valerie — both a violinist and a published poet — had a passion for the arts.

Brian O’Donovan’s show and Celtic music were always favorites for her and her husband.

A CELTIC SOJOURN will broadcast on 89.7 as usual (3-6pm), and dedicate the last hour to Valerie with special guest performances from Fraser. A light reception (6-7pm) will follow.

Valerie, who died far too young at 59, was our longtime Director of Budget Operations and a key member of the WGBH family for more than 25 years. Feel free to spread the word to former ’GBHers.

Jeanne Brodeur, 58, pioneering fundraiser

Jeanne BrodeurFrom QuickNooz

Deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of former ’GBHer Jeanne Brodeur, who passed away Mon, 10/19 in California, where she served as VP for Development at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Jeanne started at WGBH in the 1970s right out of college, and worked in the Development department until 1980. She was an enthusiastic fundraiser who helped pioneer the idea of giving premiums to donors – including WGBH golf umbrellas in the mid ’70s that dotted the Boston metro area for years to come.

PBS stations everywhere followed WGBH’s fundraising lead, thanks in large part to Jeanne’s contributions.

No flowers, please, but those wishing to make a contribution in Jeanne’s honor may do so to Emerson College, Jeanne Brodeur Scholarship, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116-4624.

Collective Memories

From Lo Hartnett — 10/19/2009

A good friend and colleague is gone, but we are very fortunate to have known her – learned from her, and laughed with her…a LOT.

Jeanne’s GBH tenure was in the 70’s thru 1980 in the Development Department. Jeanne was VP Development for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.

Jeanne with John Kerr, Amy Meyers, myself, Marilyn Bernardo, Helen Fox, Jo Madden, and others learned our fund raising skill through trial and error. We shared our successes with stations around the country — a leadership trend in fund raising that WGBH continues today.

Those were fun times when we were learning our fund raising craft. I remember when Jeanne had an umbrella salesman come to the station (1974-75?). She was positive that if we offered a big golf umbrella for a contribution, viewers would contribute. As was the usually the case, Jeanne was spot on. WGBH golf umbrellas could be seen all over the Boston metro area while stations around the country adopted this success. And then came the tote bags…..

There are so many stories of those early days when Jeanne or John brought an idea home from a meeting and asked Amy, Me, Marilyn, and Helen Fox if it could be done. Jeanne’s ‘can do’ attitude was most infectious as most of you know. Together we built a solid fund raising program on the foundation Jeanne helped pour at ‘GBH and throughout the PBS system.

From Jim Lewis — 10/19/2009

Jeanne and Amy were two of my early mentors. Jeanne and I shared lots of laughs, as Mike Greenwald will well remember. The world is a bit less brighter this morning.

From John Kerr — 10/19/2009

I received the sad news from all of you simultaneously as I opened my laptop on this rainy afternoon. I’m parked along a narrow roadway way up in the remote northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, where I’m winding up my fifth post-’GBH retirement year as a ranger and living my dream. It’s raining hard.

And there, right there above the sage against Specimen Butte, is an enormous, multi-color, complete rainbow.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Jeanne put it there. That would be like her.

Most of those in public broadcasting — and especially at WGBH — stand on Jeanne’s shoulders. She was the bedrock, the doer, the grit, the inspiration, the energy, the smile, the never-say-no person who made a lot of it happen.

Travel well, Jeanne, and thank you for everything.

I’m pretty sure that you’re already at work reorganizing Heaven and putting together a Development Plan.

From Amy Meyers — 10/20/2009

Jeanne and I first met at WGBH/Channel 2, public television (and WGBH/FM public radio) in Boston. John Kerr was our boss. This was Jeanne’s first job out of college. When President Nixon vetoed the federal funding bill to support public broadcasting in the winter of 1973, public television stations went on the air to solicit support from viewers. While some stations had already dabbled in on-air fundraising, this was really the start of all those pledge drives with which we’re now all too familiar.

Jeanne’s training at Emerson and innate confidence immediately made her a role model and mentor for all who were suddenly thrust in front of the camera to encourage viewers to pay for something they could get for free. I remember marveling at her ease when she’d return from a conference and tell me that during a visit to the public TV station where the conference was being held, she immediately went on air and started “pitching.” There she was, already leading and teaching.

From the The Pacific Shores Hematology-Oncology Foundation

Jeanne Brodeur: Battling Cancer Woman to Woman

Jeanne Brodeur

“The Woman to Woman Campaign provides deserving and financially needy women undergoing cancer treatment with access to tests, procedures, investigational drugs, and other life-saving medical expenses that can extend their lives and increase their quality of life.”


Kate Billings, 52, associate producer

From QuickNooz (with permission) — 9/8/2009

Former ’GBHer Katherine Ann Billings passed away in Sandwich on Wed, 9/2 at age 52.

Born in St. Paul, MN, Kate graduated from the University of Minnesota and started her career at KTCA St. Paul. She came to WGBH Boston in 1987 to work as an associate producer for both the Auction and TV pledge drives. She went on to work for development at WETA in Washington, DC where she produced an award-winning pledge special with actor David Suchet.

“Kate was a creative member of our TV Pledge team,” says Roberta McCarthy. “No matter what the challenge, she always very personable and had a sense of humor. Kate was always willing to go that ‘extra mile’ to raise money for WGBH. This is a sad loss for us all.”

An accomplished sailor and TV producer, Kate returned to the Boston area to study and later teach at the New England School of Acupuncture, opening her own practice in Falmouth in 2000.

She is survived by her partner Rich Van Heynigen, their children Rhianna and Colin, four siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service and celebration of Kate’s life will be held at Coonamesset Farm, 227 Hatchville Rd, East Falmouth on Sat, 9/12 at 4pm. Those wishing to do so may remember Kate with a memorial contribution to Community Health Center of Cape Cod, 107 Commercial Avenue, Mashpee, MA 02649.

Gerald Dash, 68, Cable TV pioneer

From Multichannel News

Gerald Dash, whose long cable career began with early franchising efforts and selling HBO subscriptions, died on Aug. 30 at his home in Tucson, Ariz., of a terminal illness, family members said. He was 68.

Inducted into the Cable Television Pioneers in 2005, when he was a senior VP of training at RCH Cable Outsourcing Services, Dash began his cable career selling door to door. “That was the real key to me,” he recalled in 2005, adding: “There’s never been a dull day, even though sales people have never really been recognized.”

Bob Walker, 77, former news director

Via QuickNooz

Bob WalkerA memorial service was held Sunday, 8/2, for former WGBH news director Bob Walker, who passed away on Monday, 7/27. He was 77.

Before coming to WGBH, Bob worked at WFAA in Dallas, where he broke the stories of both the Kennedy and Oswald assassinations in 1963. He then served as news director at WGBH before going to ABC radio in New York in 1968.


Louis Wiley, Jr. retires after 33 years

In early July, colleagues and friends gathered in Fraser Performance Studio to raise a glass in honor of Frontline exec editor Louis Wiley Jr., who retired after 33 years at WGBH.

A graduate of Yale University and Georgetown Law School, Louis joined WGBH in 1970, and over the years worked on various local and national public affairs, history, and cultural programs. His myriad contributions include two documents he drafted for WGBH: Guidelines on Journalistic Standards and Practices for National Programming and Web Code of Best Practices.

As Frontline’s exec editor, Louis was responsible for monitoring the story selection process of hundreds of Frontline episodes, conducting an editorial review of each program and assessing all matters that impacted or might have impacted the editorial integrity of the series.

In these various roles, he helped producers and reporters battle military censors, confront government and industry wrongdoing, and challenge political partisans and activists on controversial matters.

“This is about a lifetime, a life’s work, and the person who shared so much of it — so generously, so intelligently, and with such care and affection,” says Frontline exec producer David Fanning, “and who set the standards and the measure by which we together did this lifetime’s work.” Although retiring from WGBH, Louis will do some consulting as well as pursue his passion for learning more about art and antiques.

Jeanie Angier, director of national promotion

Deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of former ’GBHer Jeanie Angier, who passed away May 8. Jeanie worked at WGBH from 1978 to 1993, eventually holding the position of Director of National Promotion. She started out at WGBH as a publicist for NOVA, and it was during that time that she met her husband, then fellow ’GBHer John Angier.

No memorial services will be held, but those wishing to honor Jeanie’s memory may write to John Angier at 94 Harvard Ave., Brookline, MA 02446.

The following notice was published in The Boston Globe on May 17:

ANGIER, Jeanie Of Brookline, died May 8th, beloved wife of John, stepmother of Jeremy and Penelope, sister of Rob and Katie, aunt of Tom, David, Laurie, Wendy and Katie; and good friend of Lenny, Andrea and Sandy. She leaves a large number of friends and family across the United States and the United Kingdom, dismayed at her death at such a young age but grateful for having known such vivacity. Donations in her memory may be made to the place to which she devoted so much of her wonderful energy: Longyear Museum, 1125 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

Bob Tappan, 91, 30-year WGBH volunteer

Deepest condolences to the family and friends of longtime Auction volunteer Bob Tappan, who passed away on Fri, 3/27, at the age of 92.

His daughter, Olivia, is a former ’GBHer, and both Bob and his wife were original Auction volunteers in the 1960s.

Bob continued his work with the Auction past his 90th birthday. “Bob would show up at the right time, get the job done quickly and quietly, and never expected any recognition,” says former Auction manager Edye Baker. “He was a unique fellow, and never failed to help out where he was needed. Truly, he was the grand old man of the Auction.”

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Condolences may be sent to the Tappan family at 76 Laurel Road, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

Frances Shrand, 82, Spider’s Web actor

From Cynthis Broner

Former ’GBHer Frances Shrand, of Brighton, died Sun, 3/15.

Her career included time as an actress, an elocution teacher, and a children’s etiquette instructor, but Frances may be best remembered at WGBH for her work on The Spider’s Web, the WGBH radio production for which she won two Armstrong Awards. The Spider’s Web, which debuted on 89.7 in 1970, was one of WGBH’s earliest productions aimed at promoting literacy.

Memorial Service for Bunny Olenick

From Fred Barzyk

A memorial service honoring the life of Bernice Olenick will be held on Sunday January 11th, at 2 pm at Stanetsky Memorial Chapels, 1668 Beacon Street, Brookline (1 block outbound/west of Washington St.).

Following the service, there will be a reception at her apartment house, 1550 Beacon St. (1 block east of Washington St.) in the 3rd floor community room.