The News On 6 Honors Jim Giles
Thursday, December 21st 2006, 1:57 PM CST
The News on 6 honors Jim Giles, the man who told us whether it would rain tomorrow or snow, through sunshine, sleet and tornadoes; for 25 years his world was our weather.
Our co-worker and friend Jim Giles has passed away. He had been hospitalized for the past week, battling a series of health problems. Despite a valiant fight and a determined effort by his doctors, he died shortly before 10:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Jim was a man who kept Oklahoman's safe during the worst Mother Nature could throw at us. His distinguished career began in the early 60's, serving with the Air Force in Vietnam as a weather commander at Na Trang weather station.
Pilots flying dangerous missions counted on Jim's forecasts, betting their lives that the skies would indeed be clear.
When he came home, Jim served in the prestigious Severe Storm Forecast Center in Kansas City. In the late 70's, while teaching meteorology at the University of Texas, Jim made the move to television in Austin and later in Dallas. He had an opportunity to continue that career in Dallas, but fortunately for us, he chose to come to KOTV in Tulsa in 1981 as Chief Meteorologist, forecasting for both radio and TV.
Jim was instrumental in refining forecasting technology. In 1988, he introduced viewers in Northeastern Oklahoma to Doppler 6 radar, a major advancement in local severe weather forecasting, the same technology he helped pioneer years before.
In April 1991, Jim's foresight and expertise changed severe weather forecasting forever. A new technology, Doppler 6 Pathfinder, allowed meteorologists to pinpoint when and where storms would strike for the first time ever. Just three days after its debut, the system was put to the ultimate test when a deadly tornado cut a swath through North and West Tulsa.
One tornado survivor credits Jim Giles for saving her life.
"I tuned it to Channel 6 and Jim Giles was on most of the time," Shirley Butler said. "When he said 'Oologah you should take cover' well I thought. I better do this"
"I feel like first God, then Jim Giles and then Pathfinder was responsible for saving my life and other lives up here at Oologah," Butler said.
In 1993, devastating tornadoes swept across northeastern Oklahoma again, near Catoosa. Jim was able to pinpoint those storms as well, saving countless lives.
Jim's contributions to the field of meteorology, as a military commander, a researcher, a teacher and a broadcaster are immeasurable.
Jim's devotion to his family, his wife Hannah, his daughters and grandchildren, was boundless.
His involvement in the community kept many people warm during cold Oklahoma winters. One of the community projects Jim was most proud of was Giles Coats For Kids. For 20 years, Jim encouraged people to drop off a new or gently used coat at Yale Cleaners locations. They would clean them and take them to Catholic Charities to be distributed.
Thousands of families have benefited over the years, and for that Jim will always be remembered.
"If you say coats for kids or you say Catholic Charities people don't know what you are talking about, but if you say Jim Giles in front of it everybody knows exactly what you are doing," said Tom O'Leary with Catholic Charities.
The program continues of course, and what better way to honor Jim than to drop off a coat for someone who needs it, at any Yale Cleaners location through the end of the month.
Jim Giles leaves behind a place in our hearts that can never be filled. When asked recently how he'd like to be remembered he said in his usual, understated way "just for doing a good job". He did a great job!
Jim Giles leaves behind a place in our hearts that can never be filled. We count ourselves lucky to have known him as a colleague, a neighbor, and a friend.
We'll all miss him, greatly.
If you would like to pay your respects to Jim's family, thereâ€™s a public memorial service on Tuesday, December 26th. It will be at the 2 p.m. at the Rhema Bible Church Auditorium, at
1025 W Kenosha, in Broken Arrow, thatâ€™s on 71st Street between 145th E. Avenue and 161st E. Avenue.
In lieu of flowers the Gilesâ€™ family has asked that donations be made in Jimâ€™s memory to one of three places:
American Heart Association in Tulsa, call toll-free 1-800-242-8721 or www.americanheartassociation.org, the website will have instruction on â€œMemorial Givingâ€
American Cancer Society in Tulsa, call toll free 1-888-376-1725 or www.cancer.org
Or mail to:
4110 S. 100 E. Ave., Suite 101
Tulsa, OK 74147
Donations to the Cancer Society should be earmarked for â€œResearchâ€ per the Gilesâ€™ family wishes.