Dan Henry, who for years was the face of Kansas City weather at WDAF-TV, died Saturday after a long struggle with emphysema. He was 89.
Though he retired from the station in 1992, Henry is still recognized as someone who made weather fun and interesting.
“Dan’s primary goal was to make people interested, whether they laughed or were informed or warned about the weather, whatever it was,” said Fox 4 News anchor Phil Witt. “He is beloved in local television. He was one of the most wonderful men in television and in life.”
Witt said he met Henry in 1979 when Witt joined the station.
“We worked every day together,” he said. “There were many times on the set when Dan would not only make us laugh but make us fall to the floor because of something he did.
“When we went to the green screen technology, he would cover himself in green and only his face would show, and on Halloween he’d have an animation of a skeleton flopping around and it was just the bones and his head.”
But if the weather threatened, Witt said, Henry was as solid a reporter as you would ever see.
“He wasn’t a meteorologist, but he was a weather geek,” Witt said. “He knew weather. He was much more than a showman and a comedian on the air. He was a serious weather journalist as well.”
Dan Henry Bowser was born and raised in Coffeyville, Kan. After graduating from Kansas State University, he taught junior high school science and worked at WIBW-TV in Topeka.
His Kansas City broadcast career began in 1959 as a morning disc jockey at WDAF-AM. In the mid-1960s, he started dividing his time with sister station Channel 4, first as “Tea Time” host, then as weekend weatherman. He moved up to weekday weather anchor in 1977 and quickly became a favorite.
“He left a trail of friends and smiles and loved to make people laugh,” said Henry’s oldest son, Brian Bowser. “He didn’t have an angry bone in his body. He treated everybody like they were close friends.”
Boswer said his father loved his job.
“Back in the day, they had a magnetic weather board, and one time he threw a handful of snowflakes up on the screen,” Bowser said. “About half of them fell off and he said, ‘It’s gonna snow, but it’s not gonna stick.’ I was watching on TV and I just cracked up.”
Henry is survived by his wife, Estyl, two sons and a daughter. Funeral arrangements are pending.
After Henry retired at age 67, he and his wife did lots of traveling, Bowser said — including many trips to Ireland and several to Hawaii and England.
“He loved Ireland,” Bowser said. “He wanted to buy a castle over there.”
Henry’s goal, his son said, was to make it to his 90th birthday, which would have been May 9.
“And with his will,” he said, “he almost made it.”