Entertainment Spotlight

Fox 4 struggles with death of meteorologist Don Harman

Updated: 2011-12-01T03:44:24Z

By AARON BARNHART

The Kansas City Star

Don Harman, the fun-loving weathercaster and personality on Kansas City’s most popular morning show, has died.

Police were called to Harman’s south Kansas City house just before 5 p.m. Tuesday after his wife, Monica Johns, found his body. Police ruled the death a suicide.

Harman, a 41-year-old native of Ohio, was hired by WDAF “Fox 4” in 1999 to replace Gary Lezak and quickly became part of a high-spirited team that was No. 1 in the ratings for years.

Fans were grieving reports of his death Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, even as station officials at WDAF/Fox 4 struggled to balance the online outpouring of sympathy with their journalistic obligation to wait until Harman’s father could be notified.

Harman’s close friend and morning show co-host Mark Alford looked shell-shocked as he read the announcement at 4:45 a.m. asking for patience from viewers who were bombarding the station’s switchboard and posting messages to social media. The announcement was repeated through Fox 4’s morning newscast.

“We know a lot of you out there have questions about what’s going on. We do appreciate your concerns. We consider you our friends,” Alford said.

His co-anchor Loren Halifax continued: “We do ask you, though, to remember that family comes first. And we are honoring that.”

The station confirmed Harman’s death on-air during its noon news today. Kathy Quinn read from the announcement: “To all of us Don was like family and the news comes as a great shock to all the people he worked with at Fox 4.”

After graduating from Miami University of Ohio, Harman began his TV career with stints in Parkersburg and Huntington, W.Va., and Mason City, Iowa.

On arriving in Kansas City in 1999 he had big shoes to fill: Gary Lezak had parlayed his popularity as Fox 4’s morning weathercaster into a chief meteorologist’s role at KSHB-TV. But Harman proved, if anything, an even bigger hit with viewers, thanks to his on-air camaraderie with co-workers and his boyish enthusiasm for both the weather and silly stunts.

He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Avery.

Reach Aaron Barnhart at aaron@tvbarn.com.

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