In the aftermath of Don Harman’s tragic death, TVSpy asked friends and colleagues of Harman’s to share their stories of the beloved Kansas City meteorologist. In their own words, here are their memories:
KSHB chief meteorologist Gary Lezak:
Don Harman, Joe Lauria, Jeff Penner and I would get together every year at the end of tornado season in June. We would meet at an area restaurant after Don finished his morning shift and spend a few hours talking about weather, the behind the scenes of the business, and more. He always had us laughing from the minute we saw him. We did this almost every year until he started his family a few years ago.
Former WOWK anchor and colleague Dave Mikes:
Don was a very passionate person … in both work and play. The only time I saw him frustrated was in wanting our show to be better. On-air he was very funny. Off-air he was hilarious. No matter what was being discussed, he’d find the humor in it.
He never passed on the chance to make himself look like a fool if it would make us laugh. He didn’t care how others saw him. It just added fuel to his fire. Typical example… He drove an old Bonneville (I think) with the license plate “LAPOLUX”. That was Don’s ironic humor. He knew that his old car was not the “lap of luxury”… but he wanted people who saw it to think that is what HE thought. Why? Just so they could get a laugh at his expense. That is who he was.
I laughed more than I didn’t during my time in Huntington with Don. I never saw him down. He was always up. Even at 4 am when we’d be getting ready for the morning show at WOWK, he’d try to make us all laugh.
To me, the funny memories greatly outweigh what happened. That’s the Don I’ll keep with me.
At first people couldn’t figure him out. They didn’t really “get” him. People complained and said they would stop watching. They didn’t realize that all his “quirkiness” was in reality all he was truly about. Slowly the negative emails/calls became more and more positive. First a trickle then a flood. In the Facebook world all his entries were followed by comments about how much people loved him and how the started their day with a smile or a laugh. For a TV station doing a morning show that is TV gold and the ratings soared. We developed an instant friendship that lasted all these years…and we talked. Oh my did we talk. We talked about everything, often for many years 3 or 4 times a day over the phone. It was ridiculous. His wife, Monica, would make constant fun of me/us every time we were on the phone together. Whenever I’d call she had a pet name for me…that I can’t really say in this forum…it wasn’t the most “proper” of names…but it certainly was funny. My wife constantly complained that she couldn’t get a hold of me because the line was always busy for what seemed like hours at a time If there was big weather happening or about to happen it got even worse. We were like two teenage girls burning up the phone lines. He was my best friend.
KCTV chief meteorologist Chris Suchan:
I never met Don but heard so many great things about him after my arrival to Kansas City. And I will tell you, I was shocked when I heard the news as if I had known him for years. That was my reaction like so many here at KCTV5.
Don had the wonderful ability to have fun with morning viewers over laughs yet deliver an excellent, informative forecast. I know he visited many schools in the region to talk science and weather … that to me spoke volumes of his character. I’m sorry I’ll never get the chance to meet him now that I’m here. I certainly feel deep sympathy for his family and colleagues.