Chicagoans React to the Loss of Legendary Local Weatherman Jerry Taft

ABC7 Chicago weatherman Jerry Taft died on Thursday night at 77 years old.

Taft was a beloved meteorologist for ABC7 for over 30 years, before he retired in 2018.

Known for his sense of humor, Taft's coworkers spoke fondly about their memories of the meteorologist. Anchor Terrell Brown said his former coworkers were celebrating Taft's life. "We spent the morning laughing already, celebrating Jerry," Brown said on a broadcast, after playing an old silly promo with the weatherman.

His former station also shared clips of his former coworkers speaking about Taft from when he retired in 2018. "One of the things that makes him so approachable is the fact that he doesn't take himself seriously, he's taking what he does professionally seriously, never himself," anchor Alan Krashesky said. "He mixes that credibility that he has as a meteorologist with a personality that's just unmatched."

"Jerry has no filter. If it's on his brain, it comes out his mouth," another former coworker said in the segment.

Some of Taft's ABC7 colleagues like Diane Pathieu and Tracy Butler paid tribute to him on Twitter.

It’s a terribly sad day for our ABC 7 Chicago family.

RIP friend.

— DIANE PATHIEU (@pathieuabc7) July 24, 2020

It is with a very heavy heart that I share the passing of our dear Jerry Taft with you. Jerry was instrumental in my coming to @ABC7Chicago I can hear that laugh. Wow...I can hear that laugh. Miss you, pal. My deepest sympathy to his family.

— Tracy Butler (@TracyButlerABC7) July 24, 2020

Celebrating the life of Jerry Taft who passed away last night. One of my fav pics as @KrasheskyABC7 @KathyBrockABC7 and I tried to recreate a promo picture from the early ‘90s! Missing you, my friend. 💔

— Roz Varon (@rozvaronABC7) July 24, 2020

Prior to his career as a weatherman, Taft served as a Captain in the Air Force. He began his career in news, when he took a San Antonio weatherman for a flight, according to ABC7.

Taft is survived by his wife and four children.

Not just well liked by his coworkers, anchors, reporters, and other meteorologists spoke about Taft's kindness and also offered tributes to Taft. CBS 2 Chicago meteorologist wrote that Taft was welcoming to his peers. "Always made our weather events so much more fun. He loved to invite tv mets from all other stations so we could get to know each other & share stories and laughs," she tweeted.

I am so sorry, Tracy. Best to you, Jerry's family, and everyone at @ABC7Chicago.

— Robin Baumgarten (@WGNRobin) July 24, 2020

I’m so sorry, Tracy. He was such a calm voice when people needed it. I learned a lot about delivering weather thoughtfully & deliberately while watching his broadcasts in the 90s studying at NIU. And Jerry made the rule: it was always okay to laugh on live TV.

My condolences.

— EricSorensen☈ (@ERICSORENSEN) July 24, 2020

My condolences to Jerry’s wife and kids. I had the great pleasure of working with him for years. What you saw on camera is what you saw off camera. His humor brought much needed levity to our newsroom and newscasts! #RIP

— Sarah Schulte (@SchulteABC7) July 24, 2020

Other local Chicagoans looked back on Taft's weather reports fondly and spoke about how funny and entertaining he was, making them want to keep up with his forecasts. One person even shared an anecdote about writing a letter to Taft when he was in middle school, and the weatherman inviting him to the studio to spend a day with him.

If you’re a Chicagoan and not sad over this....bruh idk. He made me WANT to watch the weather and I remember watching him for years as a kid until he retired. RIP Jerry ❤️

— Jon Ruiz (@J_Ruiz20) July 24, 2020

Chicago icon This is so sad we really missed Jerry after his retirement He kept us safe during storms with his spot on minute by minute updates He had a great sense of humor #RIPJerry

— CouldaWouldaShoulda (@eissie59) July 24, 2020

When I was in Junior High, I wrote a letter to Jerry Taft expressing interest in forecasting & asking what goes into it. Not only did he write me back, but he invited me to @nbcchicago to spend day with him. He was very kind to me. RIP Jerry Taft @ABC7Chicago @TracyButlerABC7

— All In Illinois (@ChiTownSports) July 24, 2020

Other local broadcasters spoke about how Taft was an inescapable and important presence in the windy city. In a lengthy tribute, a videographer wrote about his memories of watching his forecasts with his family, calling Taft a "class act."

When I think of @jerrytaft I think of a genuine, compassionate, and funny man. I would watch his evening weather reports everynight w/ my family. My family was close with Jerry and he will be severely missed. Thank you for serving our city for decades. You’re a class act. RIP❤️

— CapturedNews Shooter (@CNshooter) July 24, 2020

Sad to hearing about the passing of Jerry Taft. I watched Jerry's weather for as long as I can remember and then had the good fortune of getting to know him a little and even play golf with him a few times. Jerry was a fascinating guy. #Rip, Jerry.

— Carmen DeFalco (@CarmenDeFalco) July 24, 2020

ABC7 Chicago did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Jerry Taft
Taft shared a photo with his family when he retired from ABC7 Chicago on his Twitter. Taft died on Thursday. Twitter