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Friends, broadcasters remember Ann Arnold

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Knowing Ann was truly an honor. We all know she was a high-octane, get ‘er done powerhouse, but what I will always remember about her was the gentleness and compassion she extended toward a friend of mine she didn’t know.

I saw Ann a couple of times a year at NASBA events, and we connected immediately, due – in part – to our shared background as newspaper reporters early in our careers. One time I shared a story with her about a dear friend of mine who was killed in a horrific car accident. Her teen-aged son wasn’t seriously injured physically, but her husband received a debilitating head injury that left him in a wheelchair, struggling with communication issues and a long list of health and care issues.  It quickly became apparent the father and son needed assistance, and my friend’s sister in Austin took them in. She knew it would be all-consuming, but even so, struggled with overwhelm as the health and interpersonal challenges sometimes seemed even worse than the original accident.

Ann didn’t hesitate. She gave me her personal contact information to pass along, offering her help, support and advice as someone who shared those issues. I don’t know if my friend’s sister ever contacted her, but I was touched at Ann’s willingness – despite her own challenges and schedule – to reach out to share her experiences and offer a helping hand.

That’s the side of Ann I will always treasure. Her legacy is certainly expressed through her two sons, whose words touched each of us at Saturday’s memorial service. All of us associated with NASBA were also moved when after the service they came to the restaurant where we all had lunch, to offer a more personal thanks.

We are all grateful for that legacy, and are all better people for having known Ann. - Dinah Brooks, wife of Art Brooks, Arizona Broadcasters Association

Ann was truly an inspiration to all who knew her. From her days at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to the press office for Gov. Mark White to the Texas Association of Broadcasters, she was an example of how to do journalism well. I had the privilege of working with Ann for open government during our days at Texas Media and also had the pleasure of watching her as a mom at the Northwest Little League when Jon was at bat. Ann, who was given such shocking health news back in the 1980s, lived well and on her own terms. - Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

As President & CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters for 23 years I had the distinct honor and privilege of knowing and serving along with Ann in many capacities. The respect for her from the halls of Congress, the NAB and all of her NASBA colleagues is unparalleled! You never had to wonder what she meant on any issue of the day as she was clear and purposeful in all of her ways. I was most blessed by knowing the personal side of Ann over the years. Seeing how she handled & balanced personal adversity and still care for her family and the TAB gave insight into her inner strength and faith. - Art Brooks, Arizona Broadcasters Association

On behalf of all of the Texas PBS Stations, Ann will be greatly missed. She was a great advocate for all broadcasters. Our thoughts are with her family. - Kierstan Schwab, Texas PBS

I just found out a few minutes ago about Ann Arnold's death. I was composing a letter of thanks for Ann when I discovered this sad news. I had no idea that she was so seriously ill. Her online bio states that she was diagnosed with Leukemia many years ago. This certainly makes her resolution, energy, and dedication over the years all the more impressivPlease accept my heartfelt condolences. The honor from Ann and TAB for my work becomes deeply tinged with sadness by this news. Know that I am ever more appreciative of her words. - Tom Wood

What a sad time for all of us, but I'm glad I was there in 2007 to see Ann get her Lifetime Acheivement Award and a photo and chat with her last month when she gave Darryl Parker and me the award plaques for our work on the ECIG Implementation Guide.  My tribute to Ann is on the AWARE blog. - Gary Timm

As a reporter, Ann had a great knack for being persistent without being unpleasant.  When we worked together for UPI in 1968 and 1969, the capitol press room was crowded and I couldn’t help hearing her end of phone conversations.  When a legislator or agency head was trying to put her off, she had a way of keeping the conversation going, eventually circling back to the question she wanted answered, and more often than not she got what she wanted.  She had an insatiable desire to know what was happening and why.  She was a fine press secretary and association executive, but before that she was a top-notch reporter. - David Anderson

Sad news... Ann was a unique lady, role model, mentor and force of nature. It's hard to image a TAB meeting or event without her. - Steve Krant, Creative Technology Associates

Ann Arnold welcomed me in the early 80s to Texas. I was a first time General Manager and I wanted to touch and do everything. I expressed interest in the TAB and she took me under her wing. She helped me understand and appreciate the unique role that Radio plays in politics here in Texas. Once I got my sea legs, Ann was there to gently cajole my participation in reaching out to legislators and explain the TAB position. Ann always made time to find out what you needed and what she could do to help your station succeed.  My experience on the TAB board gave me a chance to see her leadership in action. Ann built a powerful team of people to support the effort. If you were in the halls of Congress in Washington, everyone knew Ann Arnold. Texas has a tradition of amazing high achieving women, like Gov. Ann Richards and Representative Barbara Jordan. Add Ann Arnold to the list of special women who have given so much to something they truly love. She will be missed. - Dan Halyburton, Texas State Networks

Mr. Adams shared our sadness in the passing of Ann. But I wanted to pass along my personal concern as Ann was such a wonderful lady, she was kind and available for us.  More than anything she always made me feel welcome and had that Texas hospitality.  I did not know she was a journalist and was quite the trailblazer.  No wonder she always asked lots of good questions and wouldn’t give up on the subject till she had the whole story. God Bless Ann Arnold and her family. - Matthew Straeb, GSSNet

I have such wonderful memories of Ann.  In my entire career, she was one of the most caring, talented and intelligent leaders with whom I ever had the pleasure of collaborating.  She was as comfortable working on behalf of the smallest one-station radio market in Texas as she was with the largest corporate groups nationally.  She dreamed big for our entire industry and her lose is truly enormous.  Linda and I are so saddened by her passing and send our warmest wishes to all Texans. - Don Perry, 2004 TAB Chairman

I know we all will miss Ann, but you all who worked with her intimately each day all these years must ache inside. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. She was an amazing and classy lady. I’ll never forget the first time she bent over and kissed me on the cheek at my first board meeting years ago. I was moved that someone so important would be so friendly and notice me and our little company! It also occurred to me how in character it was for her to be working on a Holiday weekend. That’s our Ann. I know the best is yet to come for the TAB. She would want it that way, - Steve & Karren & Crew, Broadcast Works

Ann was such a special person to me.  I can remember the office before the new building was built.  Ann was a mentor like no other.  She was smart, tenacious and would not take no for an answer.  I learned so much from her.  She helped the dream of a TAB building come true and in a very strategic location just blocks from the Capital.  She had genuine concern not only for  Texas Broadcasting but for the broadcasters as well.  I believe many of her dreams for the Texas Broadcasters became a reality.   I know I am a better person and Broadcaster because of knowing her. - Jackie Rutledge, WOAI-TV San Antonio

Please know that we at Broadcast Site Management are deeply saddened to hear of Ann's untimely passing.  She was a true leader and consummate broadcast professional.  I know she will be missed by all.  Our condolences to the entire TAB staff who knew her best. - George Schank, BSM