Legendary WLS Meteorologist Jerry Taft Dies

By Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel 

Well-know WLS Chicago meteorologist Jerry Taft has died.

The weatherman worked in the Windy City for 33 years before retiring in 2018. He died peacefully on Thursday night, surrounded by family. He was 77.

Taft didn’t study journalism. He was a captain in the Air Force when he did a publicity flight for a local meteorologist. That led to his first job locally.


“They said, ‘We’ll give you “14-50.”‘ I figured $1,450 a month, bought new suits. It was $14.50 a show. Got my first check, it was $62,” he once recalled.

Taft’s colleagues reflected on their time together Friday morning.

“Jerry was dedicated to the March of Dimes for decades and the Sunshine Rally was a rally where we would all gather in the month of April and meteorologists from throughout the Chicago area would come together and give a forecast for the big March of Dimes Walk. Jerry spearheaded this for years and I know he is so well respected by meteorologists in this city and around the country as well,” said his colleague meteorologist Tracy Butler.

Traffic anchor Roz Varon talked about Taft’s infamous laugh.

“I can hear it, I will always hear it. You will never forget it because it was so infectious. He’d start laughing, you’d start laughing and you couldn’t stop laughing,” Varon said.

Taft is survived by his wife and children.