a 'place' for a legend
Houston TV titan Dave Ward honored with new street anchoring his beloved station
For more than half a century, Dave Ward was a fixture on the Channel 13 (now known as ABC13) newscast, starting as a street reporter in 1967, moving to anchor of the 7 am news the following year, all before taking his role as the station’s lead anchor on the 6 pm and 10 pm news in 1968.
He kept that anchor seat until his retirement in 2016.
Ward left his mark in the broadcasting history book as the longest-running anchor at one station ever in Texas and one of the longest-running anchors anywhere in the U.S. For a big part of his tenure at Channel 13, Ward was joined on the anchor desk by Shara Fryer, Ed Brandon and Bob Allen.
To say that Channel 13 dominated the local ratings during Ward’s run would be an understatement.
A fitting “Place” for a legend
Now, Ward’s legacy will be front and center — more precisely next door — forever at the ABC affiliate on Bissonnet Street in southwest Houston.
On a typically sweltering Tuesday morning on August 8, Houston dignitaries, led by mayor Sylvester Turner and police chief Troy Finner, unveiled the street sign topping proclaiming that the block of Westchester Avenue next to Channel 13 will now be “Dave Ward Place.”
The honor started with Ward’s wife Laura — a legendary local philanthropist (who pretty much always gets her way) — making a call to Finner. That got the ball rolling, Turner came aboard, and the plan was finalized weeks ago.
Dave Ward with his wife, Laura Ward; another broadcasting legend, Ted Koppel; Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious; and Ramy Mankarious. Photo courtesy of Crime Stoppers
Ward reportedly has been ill for several months, but was able to attend the ceremony Tuesday when wife Laura busted him out of the hospital for the day.
Ward has long been a supporter of police in Houston. He often would go on patrol with officers after Channel 13’s 10 pm newscats. Ward was a founder of Crime Stoppers of Houston and served as president of the Houston Easter Seals Society.After the ceremony, I spoke privately with Turner. I asked the mayor, what does Dave Ward mean to Houston?
“Dave Ward is Houston,” Turner told me. “He’s the longest-serving journalist in our city’s history. He served us with credibility and integrity.These street toppings are very seldom given. In my eight years as mayor we’ve only done it for three other persons. This is the very first one that we’ve done for someone who’s still alive.
Our columnist and ABC13 general manager Wendy Granato at the unveiling ceremony.Photo courtesy of ABC13
What TV legend Dave Ward and Ken Hoffman share in common
Having your name on a street sign is quite the honor. I know how Ward feels … with an asterisk.
Ken Hoffman Drive is a little different than Dave Ward Place — for obvious reasons such as, it has nothing to do with our renowned columnist. Screenshot via GoggleMaps
I don’t mean to brag, but there is actually a Ken Hoffman Drive. Except it’s a different Ken Hoffman and it’s not in Houston or anywhere else I’ve lived. Ken Hoffman Drive is in Charlotte, North Carolina and it’s named for the city’s director of engineering and supervisor of sanitation from 1966 to 1989. (Editor’s note: We can’t be the only ones who find the sanitation connection fitting, Ken, right?)
Charlotte named the street leading to an industrial park for that other Ken Hoffman after his retirement.
Fittingly, the street is a dead end and there’s a Jimmy John’s on it — so it might as well have been named for me.