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Don McNeely, Mr. KFVS, dies at age 88

Published: Nov. 9, 2015 at 4:47 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM CST
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Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.
Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.
Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.
Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.
Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.
Don wrote this autobiography in 1983.

Don McNeely was the voice and face of KFVS. He retired from KFVS-TV in 1993 after 50 years in broadcasting. To this day, countless viewers remember growing up with Don as their source for local news and important weather information. Many viewers still remember the popular "Don Said It Would" campaign during the 1980's.

Donald T. McNeely was born in Cape Girardeau December 11, 1926. He began his broadcasting career in 1943 at the age of 16 as an announcer for KFVS Radio.

Don served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Trained as a Japanese interpreter, became an announcer for the Armed Forces Radio Network in Japan.

He earned a BA degree in Speech and English in 1948 from Southeast Missouri State University. While there, Don was active in the College Theater, music, writing, and had lead roles in several stage productions. He achieved an MA degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University in 1949.

Afterward, Don pursued a career in radio, played with and conducted dance orchestras, and learned to fly as a hobby. He became the president of the Cape Community Theatre.

After Oscar Hirsch founded KFVS-TV in 1954, Don became the news anchor, program director, and weather man for the TV station. In 1982 Don became an AMS certified meteorologist and was the chief weather man for KFVS until his retirement in 1993. During that time he produced and emceed numerous telethons for the MDA, Cerebral Palsy, and the Salvation Army.

Don married Sue Harbison in 1953 and had two daughters, Donna and Laura. He is a past president of the Cape Public Library Board, past member of the Southeast Hospital Board, and an Elder for the First Presbyterian Church.

In 1974 Don portrayed Ben Franklin in the University Theater production of "1776," and received the Black Mask Award for best performance by an actor.

Don died November 8 at the age of 88.

[Take a look at pictures of Don through the years.]

Don's funeral and burial services will be private. Family and friends will plan a celebration of his life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you remember Don with a donation to one of the following:

The Don McNeely Scholarship in Speech & Theatre 
Southeast Missouri State University
c/o Trudy Lee
1 University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

The First Presbyterian Church 
235 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

The Pleasant Hill Cemetery Association
c/o Lee Ann Schenimann
474 Duskin Lane
Jackson MO, 63755