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Culture / Society

The Dave Ward You Don’t Know

Houston TV News Legend Tells All as He Hits a Record and Braces for His Last Broadcast

BY // 11.09.16

When ABC Channel 13 news anchor Dave Ward welcomes viewers to the 6 p.m. news tonight, he will officially mark his 50th year behind the KTRK news desk. While much has been written about Ward’s career that has earned him a spot in Guinness World Records, no one has tapped into the man behind the anchor persona. Until now.

PaperCity sat down for a personal chat with Ward in his Tanglewood home only days before tonight’s momentous newscast. Perhaps most surprising, we learned that this pillar of Houston broadcast news is basically a humble fellow. When his wife, Laura, informed him that former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush had just confirmed that they would be in the newsroom for Ward’s final broadcast on December 9, his eyes filled with tears as he quietly shook his head. “I wanted to invite them but I didn’t feel like they would really want to come,” he said.

But at a recent charity event, Neil Bush, the former president’s son, told Ward that his parents were waiting for an invitation. The wheels were put in motion and the answer came on Monday.

When asked about his unprecedented tenure in a broadcast business that is much about youth and beauty, the 77-year-old again shook his head. “It’s amazing to me that the people of Southeast Texas have been so gracious to me all these years.” Indeed, the Channel 13 newscasts have ranked No. 1 through the decades and why fix a good thing when it isn’t broken.

Since relinquishing the 10 p.m. news slot earlier this year, Ward noted, “I finally learned what it’s like to wake up and go to bed on the same day.” No more chilling after the late newscast until the wee morning hours. But he does continue one of his favorite late-night pastimes — stargazing. Each night, Ward takes a chair on his patio to look at the stars. Likewise, he still heads to Le Peep for a late breakfast every morning as he has done for the last five years.

While he fills up on any combination of French toast, pancakes, bacon and eggs, the 6-foot-1 newsman, who says he’s been trim most of his life, is a slim 165 pounds. That despite the fact that he dotes on his wife’s cooking. The southern Louisiana belle is a delicious demon in the kitchen whipping up  crazy good fried catfish and fried chicken (and a host of other Louisiana-inspired dishes) that have Ward’s mouth watering at the mere mention. Her one shortcoming is gravy. “She doesn’t know how to make gravy,” he says with mock exasperation. “How can you have chicken fried steak without cream gravy!”

In addition to his penchant for Louisiana-style food, Ward’s mad for Blue Bell ice cream, particularly the cherry vanilla, of which Laura says he can finish off a half gallon within a week. The food fixations even though Ward has no sense of smell, thanks to a serious bump on the head some years back.

Ward is also a fan of root beer (in the bottle, please), loves trains of all kinds, has a special talent for whistling, and almost exclusively wears cowboy boots, preferably Lucchese. Laura allows that her husband of 14 years has been married three times and for each he wore his highly-polished boots. For the record, he has four children and three grandchildren, three step-children and one step-grandchild.

Viewers often ask Ward where he gets his clothes. Laura does the shopping and reveals that her husband’s closet is carefully organized with more than 30 suits, each accompanied with a selection of ties and he never wears the same suit twice in one month. Most of the shopping is done at Festari and most of his ties are Hermes and Ferragamo because, Laura explains, Dave has a penchant for the little figures that are a signature of both European labels.

While Dave Ward’s final newscast is December 9, the veteran newsman says he isn’t going away. “There are some exciting prospects coming up. Things are looking up,” he says. “I’m not leaving Houston. Houston is my home. I’m not abandoning it.”

We’re pretty sure that that overflowing jar of candy on his desk at Channel 13 will follow him on his next adventure.

Once Ward has left the station, you can follow him here at Dave Ward’s Houston.

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