Dick Albert, beloved for his homespun weather wisdom as the longtime chief meteorologist at Channel 5 in Boston, died Friday from complications of pneumonia. He was 73.
Albert, familiarly known as “Dickie” to viewers, was widely considered the dean of New England’s meteorologists when he retired from the station after 31 years in 2009.
“We had so much fun because you can only have fun when you’re with Dick,” said Harvey Leonard, a Channel 5 meteorologist who worked with Albert for seven years at WCVB, and before that, competed against him at Channel 7.
“It’s a huge loss,” said Leonard. “It’s truly like losing a brother, that’s what I considered him to be.”
His easy banter with on-air personalities made him a favorite for viewers across New England.
“He was a guy you wanted to hear the weather from,” said Natalie Jacobson, the station’s longtime anchor who worked alongside Albert for years.
She said Albert’s on-air persona mirrored the way he was when the cameras were off.
“What you saw was the genuine article,” she said. “He’s exactly who you saw on television.”
For Albert, the bigger the nor’easter, the better, said Jacobson.
“Dick loved the weather,” she said by telephone Friday evening. “He loved the intricacies of trying to predict the weather.”
But even more than forecasting the weather, Albert’s biggest passion in his life was his family, said Jacobson.
Albert, a Newton native, leaves his wife Mary Ann and two sons, Marc and Matt, according to WCVB.
“He and Mary Ann have the most incredible marriage I have ever known in my life,” Jacobson said. “It will be a huge, huge hole in Mary Ann’s life. They taught their boys how to be married, since they were little.”
She said the Alberts are like family to her. “I will miss him so much,” she said.
Albert’s death left his former WCVB colleagues heartbroken, Bill Fine, the station’s president and general manager, said in a statement.
The station devoted a portion of its 6 p.m. newscast Friday to clips of its beloved former weatherman.
“ ‘Dickie,’ as he was affectionately referred to by his countless friends and fans, was an outstanding meteorologist and the expert who our community turned to for critical weather information for more than 30 years,” Fine said in a statement. “He was widely acknowledged as the ‘dean’ of New England weather . . . and rightfully so.”
Mike Lynch, another of Albert’s longtime colleagues at WCVB, said Albert “took his work very, very seriously, and yet he never took himself seriously.”
“I think that was a big part of the attraction,” said Lynch. “You wanted to reach around your glass screen and give him a hug, and I think that’s how all of New England felt about him.”
Lynch described Albert as “approachable, embraceable, respected, and loved,” and said, at his heart, Albert was a frustrated sportscaster. Lynch recalled him incredulously questioning the moves of Red Sox managers in the studio.
Lynch thought Albert was the first news anchor in the Boston market “whose personality came right through the screen.” He said Albert made it easier for other broadcasters in Boston to show their personalities.
“He was everybody’s uncle, everybody’s neighbor, everybody’s friend,” he said.
He added, “And he was a heck of a meteorologist.”
Albert had previously worked as a meteorologist in Denver and San Francisco before returning to his native Massachusetts, according to WCVB.Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org