Legendary WRC-TV news anchor Jim Vance lost his battle with cancer on Saturday. He was 75.
He was an icon, trailblazer, pioneer and a D.C. legend.
He influenced generations of broadcasters both local and national.
Magruder graduate and former Channel 4 sportscaster Dan Hellie shared the news desk with Vance before he left D.C. for the NFL Network in 2013.
“Sitting on the desk w/ Jim Vance is one of the great honors of my career,” Hellie posted on Twitter. “Genuine, loyal & smooth. A D.C. Treasure. Much love. RIP Vance.”
News 4 Traffic reporter Melissa Mollet, a Gaithersburg graduate, said “Vance was simply a wonderful man and the most loving, generous friend.”
Longtime local sportscaster and Montgomery Blair graduate Chick Hernandez was also influenced by Vance.
“RIP Jim Vance,” Hernandez posted on his Twitter account along with a selfie of the two men. “A legend and friend.”
Vance began his career in the news business nearly 50 years ago in Philadelphia before he landed in D.C. in 1969.
Andy Pollin, a Bethesda Chevy-Chase graduate, is a longtime local sportscaster in the D.C. market who is known for his encyclopedic sports knowledge.
“He thrived in the golden age of local TV news in this town,” said Pollin. “No one was ever admired more. What a loss.”
Radio host Kevin Sheehan is another local product who grew up watching Vance on the Channel 4 airwaves.
“So smooth. So likeable. An all-time DC legend. Local tv news will never be the same. RIP Vance,” tweeted Sheehan, a Walt Whitman graduate and the co-host of Cooley and Kevin on Sportstalk 980.
“Legendary figure. His presence was second to none. RIP,” said Springbrook graduate Bram Weinstein, a former ESPN anchor who currently toils at Rockville-based Sportstalk 980.
“Never missed 11pm @nbcwashington growing up n the DMV,” tweeted former Wheaton boys’ head basketball coach Sharief Hashim, now the Director of Athletics at Southern Vermont College. “A real DC Sports Fan, Role Model, Resilient n Smooth. A true legend, RIP Jim Vance!”
Vance was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2007 when the organization inducted him into its Hall of Fame.
“As one of the first African-American primetime anchors in a major television market, Vance was an impeccable deliverer of news, keeping the citizens of Washington informed for 45 years,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said in a statement. “He inspired multiple generations of African-Americans to pursue journalism as their craft. His beautiful spirit touched everyone he met and lives on in the scores of working journalists he mentored.”
I had a chance to meet Vance last year when he emceed the annual Washington Football Legends Scholarship Gala at the Bethesda North Marriott. I told him we had some mutual connections: Mollet and Channel 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer, both of whom I had worked with in the past. After chatting for a few minutes we took a photo. I’m so glad that I got to meet one of my idols growing up, he was a genuine, down-to-earth guy and that’s how I’ll always remember him. Although he’s gone, he’ll never be forgotten.