CLAYTON, Mo. – St. Louis and the FOX 2 family have lost a legend in television news. Richard “Dick” Ford, who spent 55 years in broadcasting, has died.

Ford’s family said he died peacefully at his Clayton home Tuesday morning. He was 88.

If you grew up in St. Louis, there’s a pretty good chance you saw Dick Ford on your television. He was a news anchor who became an institution, delivering the local news for more than 30 years in our city. 

Ford covered national political campaigns and conventions, flew on a training mission in an F-4 Phantom jet, traveled to Saudi Arabia to report on Desert Storm, and reported from the nuclear submarine USS Columbia (SSN-771), the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), and the White House.

While he was best known for his reporting skills in front of the camera, Ford worked in almost every facet of TV news behind the scenes. Ford began his professional career in 1951 in Pittsburgh while still in high school. He started anchoring the news in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1957. Ford has also lived in Charleston, West Virginia, where he was the state capitol reporter for WSAZ-TV, and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was anchor and news director for WTCN-TV.

Prior to joining KTVI, Ford was an anchor and reporter for KSDK, where he also co-hosted the award-winning local magazine program, “Newsbeat.”

Ford received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and also served on active duty aboard an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

Mandy Murphey and Dick Ford during a 1993 broadcast.

Mandy Murphey, who joined KTVI 31 years ago, credits Ford with her being named a full-time anchor at the station in January 1993.

“When they were looking for a main anchor…they interviewed a lot of people from all over the country, and I was one of the people who was interviewed,” Murphey said. “Dick Ford went into the news director’s office and he told them, ‘Why don’t you give Mandy a chance?’ And because of him, I believe that’s part of the reason I got this job and was able to move into the anchor position.”

Ford played key roles when KTVI switched affiliations from the ABC network to FOX Broadcasting in 1995 and in 1997 when FOX 2 launched its hour-long 9 p.m. newscast.

Longtime St. Louis news anchor Dick Ford has died at the age of 88. Ford is shown at the St. Louis Press Club’s Media Persons of the Year Awards on March 14, 2001. (Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

Throughout his career, Ford was honored with a variety of awards, including an Emmy Award, the American Space Writer’s Association Award, UNICO the Italian Service Organization, and the 2001 Media Person of the Year Award from the St. Louis Press Club.

Ford retired from FOX 2 with his final broadcast on Dec. 15, 2005.

He loved his Irish roots and was a member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee.

Ford did not like pomp and circumstance and was not one to mince words. Even if he really liked you, he could be direct and sometimes blunt with his opinion or critique.

FOX 2 Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne said those who were fortunate enough to hang out with Dick Ford or attend one of his parties were guaranteed to have a good time.

“He knew how to have fun,” Kilcoyne said.