MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Longtime WCCO personality Dick Chapman passed away after an extended illness.

After studying journalism at the University of Missouri, the Kansas City native came to WCCO in 1957, first as a news writer for Cedric Adams.

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During his 37-year tenure at WCCO Radio, he broke and reported on a number of big stories, including the 1965 tornado in Fridley. Chapman’s reports during that evening may have saved thousands of lives, according to Joe Strub, then chief of the Twin Cities Weather Bureau.

“My prize possession is a torn piece of paper from a grocery bag with a message printed in crayon that said: ‘Dear WCCO Radio, Thank you for saving our lives,'” Chapman later said. “It was signed by nine cub scouts who survived in a school basement while the funnel demolished the building over their heads.”

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That year, he swept broadcast journalism’s top three awards — the Society of Professional Journalists Award, the Dupont Award and the Peabody Award. It’s the only time that feat has ever been accomplished.

His interest in public service led to the creation of WCCO Radio’s “Direct Line,” providing a wealth of raw data on changing weather systems.

Chapman retired from WCCO in the early 1990s.

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