During a memorial on Sunday, former WPLG anchor Todd Tongen was remembered as “totally unpretentious” and as someone who was deeply loved.
“No one knows what demons you were fighting because you hid it from us. Maybe you were dealing with shame, self-loathing as we all do at some or many points in our lives,” said Dr. Scott Tongen, Todd’s brother. “Regardless of what it was, you should have told the ones you loved, the ones who loved you. Maybe you thought the world would be better off without you. … You were wrong little brother.”
He covered South Florida for three decades, most recently as the station’s weekend morning anchor.
Tongen’s co-anchor, Neki Mohan, appeared onstage in a turkey costume. It was the same one she and Todd wore on air last year for a charity food drive.
“Tongen was one of a kind. They broke the mold when they made him … He brought a lot of experience. He made me a better person. I brought a lot of a costumes and jerk chicken festivals. And somehow it worked,” she said of their decade-long partnership.
And reporter Michael Putney paid homage to his ability to make everyone laugh.
“How hard it must have been to be the guy who felt it was his job to make us laugh. A tremendous gift, a tremendous responsibility,” Putney said. “But oh, how he could it do it. Totally unpretentious. He made us examine our own pretensions. Todd had none. He was always wonderfully himself. Like no other. I loved him.”
His family is asking for donations to the Lewy Body Dementia Foundation in his honor.