GREENSBORO, N.C. — Lee Kinard, a legend in Piedmont-Triad broadcasting, passed away Saturday morning.
Lee was 86 years old.
“Lee was the perfect example of what an effective local television personality should be in that he reflected his community: connected, trusted, dedicated, respected and admired,” FOX8 anchor Neill McNeill said Saturday. “No one on air in this market — to this day — put in as many long hours or spent as much time in front of the camera as he. He was a pioneer in the business, setting the standard for what morning newscasts should be during his time. To me — although I was a competitor — he was always complimentary, gracious and encouraging: a true gentleman I will never forget.”
FOX8 anchor Chad Tucker said, “Lee had a voice everyone knew and trusted. He was also the voice every kid listened to closely on a snow-covered day. I can still remember being in third grade and waiting for Lee to say Stokes County Schools were closed. When Lee said it, you knew it was a snow day.”
According to WFMY, where Lee was a longtime anchor, Lee passed surrounded by his family at Moses Cone Hospital.
“I worked with Lee for many years and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I use what I learned from him every single day,” FOX8’s Brad Jones said. “He helped invent morning television programming on the local level. Still, for all his knowledge and influence, Lee never forgot how important each viewer is and he talked to people on a one-to-one basis. That’s what made him such a major figure in the Triad. To spend mornings in the studio with him was like a master class in television. I’m grateful for those moments and I’m thankful for his friendship over the years.”
Chad Tucker added, “When I was a kid I remember Lee being the grand marshal of my hometown’s Christmas parade and though I was shy, I found the nerve to introduce myself and tell him I wanted to be a broadcaster, too. He said ‘with education you can do it.’ Years after I started working for FOX8 I ran into Lee at UNCG and reminded him of those powerful words he told me when I was a kid. He said, ‘I see you listened.'”
FOX8 anchor Cindy Farmer said Lee was the very first person she interviewed when she moved to North Carolina. “I immediately realized not just how incredible he was as a journalist, but what a truly nice person he was. His knowledge of all things North Carolina was amazing. I sat in awe during that interview just listening to him talk. He had that way with people. He could command an audience but you would still feel like you were talking to your next door neighbor.”