Last week’s sad news about the death of former KARE 11 reporter Brad Woodard prompted a phone call Tuesday between me and his pal Tom Gasparoli, the former WCCO-TV reporter.
Woodard left the Twin Cities, where he won a bunch of awards for investigative pieces about cruelty to animals, for Houston, where he worked at KHOU until March. He was found dead in his Houston home by authorities after a relative reported that he hadn’t returned calls.
Woodard was from Hayesville, N.C.; Gaspo now lives in North Carolina, where he works as a freelance copy editor and media relations adviser.
After a broadcast insider informed me of Woodard’s death, about which I tweeted, Gaspo sent a heartfelt e-mail:
“I have known Brad as a dear friend since 1986. We worked side by side at WTVF-TV, Nashville, before we both came to the Twin Cities, by coincidence. There, we grew even closer. I talked to him several times about a month ago. They were great, amusing and authentic conversations, as always. Brad was almost incomparably talented. A man of extraordinary depth and complexity, of great humor, wit and keen perception, endlessly kind and there was no one like him. Not even close.”
On Facebook, under “A Day Like This,” Gaspo wrote that “Van Morrison’s song is about a good day, even a great one. I’m listening to it now over and over. It’s not a great day but I have great memories. No, they aren’t memories, they are moments etched in my heart. Just about every moment you shared with Brad was an unforgettable one, for one reason or another. He never said anything inconsequential, really. Either you laughed or were struck by his bold candor. Either you were agape in wonder or you wondered how you were lucky enough to know him. … His voice follows me everywhere now. The stories I have … so many of us have. Driving down Nicollet Mall at night when we were both new to the [Twin Cities]. We didn’t know it was closed to cars … Because we were idiots. Brad was smoking. We headed for Uptown and definitely got an early morning table for cakes and decaf. We laughed about that the last time we talked. He was struggling with some things but he sounded like, well, like Brad.”
The first time they met, Gaspo wrote, Brad remarked: “You know chicks dig me because of my sardonic wit.”
Woodard was being just plain witty at the December 2005 KARE 11 going-away party for Frank Vascellaro and Ken Barlow.
Woodard was sharing a brief slow dance with director-producer Joe Brandmeier, who was and still is the husband of Joan Steffend, who had left KARE 11 for HGTV, at that time. For some reason, one of the guy’s heads was on the other’s shoulder. I seem to remember walking over and asking Woodard about how he had taken full advantage of the new technology in hair replacement, to which he responded: “I keep losing weight and gaining hair.”
Fitzgerald, Fielder grace ‘Body Issue’
NFLer Larry Fitzgerald’s magnificent contribution to ESPN the magazine’s “Body Issue” is being overshadowed in the media by MLBer Prince Fielder’s.
Fitzgerald looks like a Greek god, while Fielder’s body is smothered in tattoos and showing off interesting muscles that recall lyrics to “My Funny Valentine.”
Fielder told the magazine: “You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability.”
Fielder’s body has been decidedly more able than the more trim Joe Mauer’s. From 2006 to 2013 it looks as though Fielder has played no fewer than 157 games per season. In four of those years he played every game. A neck injury sidelined the Texas Ranger in May.
I once loved a stockbroker in Michigan whose body looked a lot like Fielder’s, so I’m no weight bigot.
Still, I doubt Fielder has this one problem with the public Fitzgerald revealed to the magazine: “I’ll be walking through the mall and someone will just grab my butt. I look back and it’s, like, some 65-year-old woman. I’m like ‘Ma’am, what are you doing?’ ‘Uh, I just wanted to see what was there.’ ”
Seeing and touching are two different activities, people.