Joe's Vault: The sentimental side of Ken Schram

As KOMO viewers and listeners know, for the first time in 35 years, we are not hearing the voice of Ken Schram.

He said so many things over those 3 1/2 decades. He reported news events of all kinds, from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens to house fires to human interest stories to Neo-Nazis and so much more.

He spoke on behalf of the management of KOMO for nearly 20 years. He covered a tremendous range of topics on the long-running Town Meeting. He produced documentaries. He readily gave his opinion on TV and Radio for the last 15 years. And he had an opinion on everything and happily voiced it.

He didn't pick a subject for his commentary and run off at the mouth. He was up early, poring through newspapers, magazines, websites. He would research his subject, call people, ask questions. He told me about his regimen recently:

"I never assume that people have read/watched the story in question, so I generally start the commentary off relating the facts as they are known. I build on that until I believe people have at least a rudimentary understanding of the issue.

I then go into the opinion part of the piece, letting people know what I think and why.

Sometimes I may use humor or sarcasm as tools in that regard."

That he did. His commentaries were often biting and very pointed. The "Schrammie" became a Wednesday fixture. By the way, the Schrammie was not his idea, and he hated doing it at first, but I believe he came to embrace it.

That was the public face of Ken Schram. Privately, he's a thoughtful man that deeply loves his family and his friends. When the beautiful Kathi Goertzen passed away this past summer, I was at home and felt like staying there with my own thoughts. Ken called me at home to see if I was doing okay. I will be forever grateful to him for making that call.

I first worked with Ken in 1979. He was actually one of the first to greet me when I was hired to work in the newsroom. He greeted me with words I can't print here and said something to the effect of, "Get used to it! That's the way we talk here!"

I loved the man right away. There was no pretense, or show. You knew where you stood. You knew what kind of man he was.

It's been a rough year here at KOMO, especially for those of us that have been around a while. Bob Throndsen, long-time anchor, reporter, then a manager in TV and Radio News, retired earlier this year. We lost Kathi after her epic battle with brain tumors. Bryan Johnson had the audacity to retire a few weeks ago, taking his 58 years in news and broadcasting with him. What an amazing man.

And now Kenny.

Today's selection from the Video Vault is something that may surprise those of you that have seen Ken Schram only in his role as commentator these last 15 years or so.

It's one of the first things he did after leaving News and headed upstairs to Special Projects. It's a Christmas special called "Through the Eyes of Children."

It's from that sentimental side of Ken. Those children he spoke to over 30 years ago are nearly 40 now and have children of their own. I'd love to know if any of you were in this special or know of someone who was.

Many thanks to my friend Ken Schram for all the laughs, and insults, and hugs. And Merry Christmas to all of you.