Dick Johnson, a Chicago television news anchor and reporter for 38 years, is being remembered by colleagues for his versatility as a journalist as well as his gracious manner on and off the air.
Johnson, 66, died Tuesday in northern Michigan, where he had been on medical disability for a respiratory ailment, pulmonary fibrosis, since early March when the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. His death was not related to COVID-19, station officials said.
“Dick was a consummate professional and an outstanding journalist,” said David Doebler, president and general manager of NBC 5. “He was welcoming to everyone who joined the team and he will be missed dearly. He was a nice man who always had a positive demeanor. He was loved by all and will be missed. This is a sad day.”
Johnson most recently was a weekend news anchor and general assignment reporter at NBC 5.
Carol Marin, a longtime colleague who shared a Peabody Award with Johnson, said: “Dick Johnson was not just a reporter, he was a storyteller. He was nuanced. Wrote beautifully. Delivered news with authority. And rose to every journalistic occasion — indictments, floods, elections, sports championships — with versatility and grace. And, sometimes, humor. He had it all.”
Johnson joined NBC 5 as a news anchor and reporter in 2002 after 20 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
A graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, Johnson worked as a reporter for WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, and as an anchor/reporter for KDFW, the former CBS affiliate in Dallas, before joining ABC 7 here in 1982.
Survivors include his wife Lauren, three children and two grandchildren.