CLEARFIELD – How does a community say goodbye to a local legend?
The residents of Clearfield began asking this question as news of the death of long-time DJ Bob E. Day spread throughout the town on Oct. 18.
Day, 71, came to this area from Michigan in 1967 to work at the AM radio station, WCPA, where he became a fixture until it was sold in 2007.
At that point, WOKW, the rival station, knowing Day’s importance to the community, quickly scooped him up.
At his new station, Day hosted a popular local show, Sunday Super Gold, was the announcer at many different high school sporting events, read the news and did live remotes, commercials and anything else required.
Off the air, he served as master of ceremonies, a DJ, host and announcer for many special occasions.
Day was known as the voice of Clearfield and it is easy to declare he had the most recognizable voice in the county. Everyone knew him as the man with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. was chosen for his memorial so it would run at the same time as his radio program. During these hours, the station ran an encore presentation of the very first Sunday Super Gold show.
At the service, granddaughter Candise Day, explained that her grandmother often described her life as living in a Broadway musical.
You didn’t know when it was going to happen, (Bob breaking into song), but it was going to happen, she said.
Brother-in-law, Sid Lansberry commented on Bob’s encyclopedia knowledge of pop music and how he has tried for years to stump him with obscure trivia questions.
Matt Day, Bob’s son, told the crowd that hearing about Bob’s impact on everyone’s lives is a great comfort to the family.
He talked about his father’s ever-present smile pointing out that like everyone else Bob must have had bad days too. Matt said he now realizes his father was making a choice every day to be happy.
He then read an excerpt from the writings of Max Lucado illustrating how we shape each day with our choices and that we should choose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness and self-control.
“Today I choose to be like my Dad,” Matt said.
The program for the service echoed this advice.
“If you have been touched by Bob’s smile, by his kindness, please pass it forward,” it read.
Matt finished his emotional tribute by using his father’s sign-off. “Above and beyond all else. . . later.”
The airwaves have not been free of Bob’s influence since his death.
On Oct. 21, his Sunday Super Gold show continued with friends and family reminiscing about his long career and impact on the community.
Yet another tribute, put together by long-time friend and fan, Jeff Rhone of Hamden, Conn., will air Sunday, Nov. 11. Rhone picked through his vast archive of Day material to find those special moments and comments from Day’s long career that he felt honored Day best.
Plans are also in the works for a Bob E. Day Scholarship Fund.
Personally, I knew Bob for over 40 years but his voice has been part of my world for as long as I can remember.
I was working in the record department of the old Leitzinger’s Department Store on the fourth floor when I first saw him come off the elevator. He often sang as he entered, and he always had a big smile on his face.
We spent a lot of time talking about what was moving up the charts: what was hot. What was not. Later we were colleagues as I worked at the newspaper and he worked at our sister radio station.
Even after all these years, when I heard Bob read one of my news stories on WOKW, I felt a little thrill.
Words always had more meaning when spoken by Bob E. Day.