WNCT news family reflects on death of longtime employee

Local

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — TV news is a business where we share positive news all too rarely and negative news all too frequently.

This news, though, is very painful to us at WNCT because it involves one of our own.

Our longtime photographer and editor, Kevin O’Brien, died on Monday. In fact, he passed away as he was on his way to work at WNCT.

It was, to say the least, unexpected.

Remembering Kevin O’Brien slideshow

Kevin worked at WNCT for nearly 40 years. He covered more hurricanes than we can count, more crimes and misdemeanors than you would want to count and more politicians and elections than anyone would want to count.

We see our newsroom as the house that Kevin built.

Kevin was our walking, talking archive, because he knew almost every story we put on the air over four decades and how to find it on video.

Kevin broke in many, many rookies to the news business, from photographers, editors, reporters and even an anchor or two. He taught them the ins and the outs.

One of our former reporters, Greenville Police public information officer Kristen Hunter, shared her thoughts, saying Kevin could have a crusty exterior, but it was just an act.

He was a softy, and many children and many dogs could sense that.

Kevin would surprise you, because he would be at the station on many nights and weekends, working on some project or something else. He didn’t do this job because he had to, he did it because he loved it.

He covered countless East Carolina University sporting events and was a staple on the sidelines for years. He produced the ECU football coaches show in the 1980s and early 1990s for coaches Ed Emory, Art Baker, Bill Lewis and Steve Logan.

To say we’ll miss Kevin, that won’t do justice to what we’re feeling right now. It’s that emptiness in our newsroom and in our hearts that can’t and won’t be filled anytime soon.

But this is a business, and it’s one Kevin O’Brien loved and lived.

Our business is telling you about this friend, colleague, mentor and newsman, a man who told stories with pictures. We will never forget his story in our lives.

Funeral arrangements had not been determined as of Tuesday evening.

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