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Liz Walker and Bob Lobel surprised Jack Williams Thursday night, joining him for his last WBZ Channel 4 broadcast and a special tribute to his 40 years at the station. “You said I wouldn’t last,” Williams joked as he reunited with his former news partners. “He’ll be back tomorrow night,” Lobel quipped.

The group reminisced at the end of the newscast about a rowdy evening at a Hard Rock Cafe, and a reel of archival footage highlighted some of Williams’s most impressive moments as anchor, including his coverage of D-Day anniversaries from Normandy and the 9/11 attacks.

“That era was magical,” Walker said of her time at the anchor desk alongside Williams.


But after 40 years at the station, Williams says he is signing off for good. Sitting beside Lisa Hughes, Williams anchored the news one last time on Thursday. He also thanked meteorologist Barry Burbank, calling him a “friend of Wednesday’s Child,” a program Williams started to help special needs children find homes.

The special tributes invited viewers to celebrate Williams by using the Twitter hashtag #ThanksJack. Locals interviewed on Castle Island lauded Williams as honest, sincere, and handsome.

The praise continued. “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley thanked him from New York. Dan Rea called Williams “Pocatello, Idaho’s gift to New England,” Joyce Kulhawik described him as a “consummate professional,” and Jon Keller dubbed him a “priceless Boston jewel.”

The following is video of Jack Williams’ last broadcast on Thursday night:

Stephanie McFeeters can be reached at stephanie.mcfeeters@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mcfeeters.