The final (?) curtain has gone down on perhaps the most dastardly character in West Texas television. It's time to say good night and good luck, goodbye and God bless to Darrell Ward.
Darrell took his final bow Tuesday as NewsWest 9's morning weather anchor. He's a good man and a good friend, and I am sad to see his departure from the airwaves .....
But glad to learn that it is not a departure from West Texas. An experienced television weatherman, Darrell is also experienced in television ad sales, and he will be plying that craft for KPEJ-TV, the Fox affiliate for the Permian Basin. And that's good news for us all, because our community would be lessened by the loss of Darrell, Armenai and the boys.
He wasn't born in Texas, but he got here as fast as he could. Darrell grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in Tornado Alley in northeast Oklahoma. He can still remember standing on the front porch during severe weather in the spring; while everyone else was heading for shelter, Darrell would be watching the storms, going, "cool!"
He went to school at the University of Oklahoma (where he played clarinet in the college band) and shortly after graduation moved to West Texas. Darrell originally worked in radio in Lamesa for 13 months before moving to Midland/Odessa, which has been his home for over 30+ years now.
Darrell joined NewsWest 9 before it was NewsWest 9, in May of 1986, long before KTPX became KWES. I had been with KMID for about a year by then, and we were competitors for many years. Later, when John Foster took the reins as GM of KTPX, the station underwent some dramatic changes, and I had a chance to work WITH Darrell - which is a wonderful experience.
Weather and family are not Darrell's only interests. Another is theater - he remains, to this day, one of the great villains in Summer Mummer history. His experience in radio and theater, and his quick wit all contributed to one of the best deliveries in the the Basin. In fact, I'm wondering if the new job and the new hours will allow Darrell to return to the stage - that would be great!
Other passions - his faith, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and airplanes of all shapes and sizes. Darrell earned his private pilot's license some time back, and loves to fly in anything and everything with wings. He recently became a Colonel in the CAF, which has long benefited from his interest and his support. I still remember the blast we had once during Airsho, when we met General Robert L. Scott, Jr., USAF (ret.), World War II fighter ace and author of the 1943 book “God Is My Co-Pilot.” Over the years, Darrell was our go-to man for information about aircraft, history and how the two often came together.
... and so much more. New, young arrivals in the newsroom would find in him a remarkable archive of data on the history and geography of the region, the particulars of its weather, and the oil business that dominated its economy.
A good man and a good friend ..... good night and good luck, Darrell.