By Bob Weaver 2019|
In my lifetime I have been fortunate to have meet a number of exemplary human beings, among them the Griffith brothers from Charleston.
One being an Emmy winning, TV newsman and personality Fred Griffith of Cleveland, whose career spanned 40 years. The other, his brother Jerry, with whom I attended mortuary school in 1968 in Cincinnati. Both are now deceased, Fred passing in 2019.
As friends, they would always make me feel better, usually a humorous slat on the human condition - great storytellers.
I smile when I think of them.
We would often lament that storytelling has been down-sized by 21st Century technology, takes up too much valuable time.
Here is a little story Fred wrote about my place on earth, the Village of Hur.
"MY HUR" July 2003 Currents Magazine
By Fred Griffith
We're still here.
But then, there never was much doubt in our minds that we would still be here for
whatever comes next in our lives.
As you read this, we have sold a house and bought a house.
A young family will take over our old place, a house where Linda and I spent
something over twenty years of our lives. Neither of us had ever lived in any one
place as long as that. I know that the new owners will enjoy this wonderfully crafted
old place with the woods and the lakes just across the road, Shaker Square just a 10
minute walk, and downtown only 15 minutes away.
And the place we are going to, much smaller and only half as old (mid-century
modern, someone has called it), has just been given up by its long-time owner who is
also looking ahead to the next part of her life. And I will still be able to go downtown
without having to get on a freeway.
I guess at this point in our lives, we could have gone anywhere. Maybe back to West
Virginia. Perhaps back to some other hills, like the Berkshires of western
Massachusetts where Linda grew up. "How about Scottsdale?" our friends ask. My
brother says Alabama is nice. And as long as the A/C is functioning, so is the Florida
coast. But we never really considered any of them.
I guess Cleveland is my Hur.
Hur is a little town in central West Virginia. Not many people live there. But those
who do have always been there. They could have gone to other places to work and
live, but they chose not to leave where they were born and raised.
I learned about Hur by reading the Hur Herald. This newspaper does not get thrown
onto your porch; it comes into your home on the internet. It is as contemporary, in
that sense, as Slate, or any other hi-falutin', cutting edge internet magazine.
My late brother Jerry told me about it. He had learned the funeral business years ago
with Bob Weaver. They stayed in touch during their careers. And Jerry one day was
surprised to learn that Bob Weaver was going back to Calhoun County and the little
village of Hur. There was enough work there for him to make a living. And a few
years ago, he started writing about the place where he grew up, the people he had
known all his life, and the qualities of that quiet life that had kept them there.
"Our village stands on the edge of memory," he once wrote, "Soon to be forgotten by
most. Those of us with roots in its clay hold cautiously to the place like some cling to
diamonds and pearls. There are powerful memories of a time when people were full of
gratitude for even the smallest of things. Life was hard but simple and most every
neighbor was treasured."
"Our families thrust themselves deep into these steep mountains and craggy hollows
to learn the toil of the soil, breathing sustenance and survival. Then there is the
spiritual connection with the earth and creation---a seldom interrupted peace, safe
At first, he printed his thoughts and distributed a few copies of what he had written to
his neighbors. Then he crafted a web site, www.hurherald.com, now a destination for
a hundred thousand people a day who want to understand from Bob Weaver why he
and they stay in this quiet country setting.
I came to Cleveland from West Virginia in 1959. As a broadcaster with a young family,
I needed a "bigger Market," as they say. And Cleveland was my pick. I got the job
and have been here ever since.
I remember going for Sunday rides back then with my son Wally. He would say,
"Let's get lost." And we would. We would choose a neighborhood and go there, and
drive up and down the streets, learning what it was like, who lived there, reading the
signs on the shops and restaurants. We would sometimes stop and buy a frozen
custard or a pastry or a sausage sandwich and try to learn to pronounce its name.
We learned about the factories and mills and neighborhoods.
Later, as I worked in news, I got to know the people who were involved in running
things---the mayors, the council members, police officers, business executives,
symphony conductors, restaurateurs, artists, actors, social activists, religious
leaders. And they became the people I would write about in my commentaries or
interview for the news.
I really knew Cleveland, but eventually I got an invitation to leave. A radio network
came calling, but I didn't take the offer. My kids were young, and I had just been
made news director of the television station where I worked. Had I taken the
network offer, where would I have gone? What would have been my assignment?
Could I have moved from that to television? Would I eventually have become a
junketing correspondent, or a producer on the evening news? If it had ended too
soon, where would I have been? What would I have done next? Would I have ever
had the chances to learn about a place in the same way that I had gotten to know
and understand Cleveland? Probably not.
Other opportunities came up from time to time, especially when the Morning
Exchange was so hot. But I was having the ride of my life, doing more daily live
television than anyone in the world. And, to borrow a line from Dorothy Fuldheim, I
had a thousand friends.
So Linda and I are staying here. I don't want to wax rhapsodic; just put the case that
we have so much people equity in Cleveland that we could never leave. Just as Bob
Weaver has a life time of it in that little place in central West Virginia.
FRED GRIFFITH IS A NATIVE WEST VIRGINIAN
Emmy winner Fred Griffith is greater Cleveland's best known TV personality and
newsman. He holds the national record for time on live TV, more than 13,700 hours.
He has conducted over 40-thousand interviews, has written and produced scores of
specials and documentaries, and has written and aired 2200 news commentaries.
Fred Griffith has worked in Cleveland broadcasting since 1959.
He is now with WKYC, the NBC affiliate in Cleveland. For 33 years he was with WEWS,
as a reporter, news producer, news and public affairs director, and for over 26 years,
host of the daily two hour Morning Exchange program.
He is in the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame and holds the Distinguished Service
Award from the Society for Professional Journalists and the Cleveland Association of
Broadcasters Award for Excellence. In 1992 was inducted into the television
academy's Silver Circle.
Griffith grew up working in his family's restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia. He
majored in philosophy at West Virginia University. After service as an Air Force
officer, he became a broadcast journalist, working as a radio news director in
Charleston before moving to Cleveland.
He has been a serious climber and a long distance runner, and is among the small
group of people who have stood at both the north and south poles. He has been to
He has worked with his wife, Linda, on five cookbooks.
He is a columnist for Currents, published by the Chagrin Valley Times.
Photo courtesy of
University Hospitals of Cleveland