Jerry Taft dies

Longtime Chicago meteorologist was at ABC 7, WMAQ-TV and WMAQ-AM

After the sudden death of WMAQ-TV anchor Dick Johnson over a month ago, Chicago television viewers are yet again mourning the loss of another television personality – this time is retired meteorologist Jerry Taft, who exited ABC 7 (WLS-TV) in January 2018 after 33 years at the station. 

Taft died peacefully at his home in Naples, Fla. Friday at the age of 77. Although the cause of death is yet to be determined, Taft has suffered from health issues over the last few years. 

Long time colleagues and viewers paid their condolences on Twitter, including one from Mayor Lightfoot.  

In a statement, ABC 7 general manager John Idler said: “Jerry Taft was an exceptional meteorologist and the face of ABC 7 weather for more than three decades. He was loved by Chicagoans and all of us here at the station. Jerry taught us all the value of being able to laugh at yourself. He will be truly missed and we send out heartfelt sympathies to his entire family.” 

Jerry Taft in his WMAQ-TV days. He left for WLS-TV in 1984.

Taft was a captain in the air force and he got his start in television in an unusual way –  local weatherman Maclovio Perez of NBC affiliate KMOL-TV in San Antonio (since reverted back to the station’s original call letters of WOAI) boarded a flight with Taft as a publicity flight for the military and wound up getting hired. 

In 1977, Taft arrived in Chicago at NBC’s WMAQ and also appeared on the then-sister station AM 670 where he was part of the “Good Morning Guys”, providing weather reports. In 1984, Taft jumped to ABC 7 and became part of a news team who would soar from a distant third in the local news race to top dog two years later and helped shape what became one of the most ratings-dominant television stations in the country. 

Taft’s fun persona made him a fan favorite among Chicago TV viewers and never took himself seriously. But he also did his job terrifically, becoming one of the most trusted meteorologists in Chicago, with WGN’s Tom Skilling. 

After his long run, Taft signed off in two-and-a-half years ago as the longtime resident of southwest suburban Lemont relocated to Florida to retire, where he played golf and even took a part-time job at an Uber driver. At the time of his retirement, ABC 7 colleague Alan Krashesky noted “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.”

Taft is survived by with wife Shana, three children, and five grandchildren. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no funeral services are being held. 


3 thoughts on “Jerry Taft dies

    • OMG!!! The good ones ALWAYS die young!!! He was AWESOME at his purpose in LIFE!!! That is to be the voice of a element of the world…WIND!!! When the windy city was gonna be hit HARD Jerry Taft called it!!!…he was on HIS JOB!!!
      I LOVED HIM!!!! The entire Channel 7 news crew!!!
      An ANGEL has returned HOME!!!

    • Jerry will be missed by many. He made weather interesting and taught th all of us how to watch the weather changes so fast in our area and why it did.
      RIP Jerry You gave us weather with a smile .Praying for your Beautiful Family.

    • I am 52 years old me and my mom always watched jerry taft and the rest of the crew. We always ask where is this person when we notice they would be missing for a while. We really appreciated the old crew like jose sanders tracy butler, Ros and many other that we our first morning crew to evening. I am so proud to have watch abc7news. I could go way back about the news cast. Today cast is also exciting especially terrell with being hungry all the time and those dance moves. Stacy and Tanya, cheryl, and the entire channel 7 crew
      Thank abc7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *