Thursday, December 13, 2012

R.I.P.: WSBS Radio Newsman ‘Tom Jay” Was 70

According to the  BerkshireEagle, Thomas P. Jaworski, who as Tom Jay served as the electronic town crier for South Berkshire, MA during his 43 years as newsman at WSBS Radio, died on Wednesday at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield after suffering a major heart attack last Thursday. He was 70.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y. --"Polish-born, pure bred," he liked to say, Jaworski lived and worked in Great Barrington for most of his adult life.

Jaworski retired from WSBS in May 2008 after serving as morning newscaster, talk-show host and intrepid field reporter who covered many of the area's major stories since the mid-1960s, notably the tornado that swept through Great Barrington and vicinity on May 29, 1995, killing three people. As a lifeline to the community that was cut off from telephone communications, he broadcast live for many hours during the aftermath.

During 43 winters, Jaworski relayed word to anxious schoolchildren and their parents about school closings and delayed openings. He devised an elaborate code system for school administrators to use when calling in, so as to block any potential hoaxers seeking to call off classes.

Jaworski, who had also served as chief engineer at WSBS and spent much of his off time on his elaborate ham-radio installation at home nearby, was continuously employed at the Great Barrington AM station, owned for 38 years by the late Donald Thurston and his family, except for a brief stint working for the State Department as a communications specialist overseas during the Vietnam War era.

From 1966 to 2004, Jaworski was partnered with Nick Diller, the WSBS dawn patrol host.

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