Abernethy will be missed
With a deep and distinctive voice, Tom Abernethy greeted generations of area residents every morning as the morning show announcer on WSTV Radio.
He was the voice of the region in a time when people were more unified in their media consumption habits, as much a result of there being no Internet or satellite radio as it was simply a different time.
Abernethy was to the valley what great announcers were to places like New York and Chicago and Pittsburgh. He was the voice that was all our own.
And he was universally remembered as a good man after his death on July 13.
He was so much more than the man behind the microphone. He was a musician and singer, having played the trumpet and sang with the Army band at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He continued to sing and be involved with the arts after coming to Steubenville – some might be suprised still to know he was not born and raised here through the Steubenville Players, the Upper Ohio Valley Barbershop Society and the St. Peter’s Church choir.
His life was also a testament to family, having been married to his wife, Grace, for 62 years. Together, they raised successful children, and he worked hard to see that children with disabilities were properly served in the community. He and Grace were advocates for their son, Tim, and his peers, ensuring the guarantees of rights and education were extended to all.
He was a key figure in development of the School of Bright Promise/JeffCo Workshop and had been board president there for many years.
And he was approachable and friendly and wise, offering sage advice to many fellow media personnel, announcers, reporters and a manager or two.
He was not known for being a fiery personality, something that is unusual among most of what passes for AM radio nowadays. He hosted the “Phone Party” program as a gentleman, listening and not shouting, considering the opinion of callers to be what mattered more than his own on the air.
And he lived his life the same way, as a good and decent gentleman.
We had a good voice back when AM was king of the airwaves and WSTV was the local broadcasting giant, and we’re thankful for the service Mr. Abernethy gave us as an announcer, as a community leader and as a family man.
He is missed.