Rockford weather legend loses his battle to cancer

Eric Nefstead 1943-2013 (Photo Courtesy of WTVO/WQRF)

Eric Nefstead was the Chief Meteorologist for WREX-TV in the 1980s and 1990s, most recently working at WTVO/WQRF. (Photo Courtesy of WTVO/WQRF)

Long before The Weather Channel could influence my love of weather, there was a guy on WREX Channel 13 who I looked up to. I remember standing in front of the TV wanting to grow up to be like Eric Nefstead, the Chief Meteorologist. There was even a kid-connection because we even shared a first name! Every evening I had to watch the weather and my mom even worked dinner around the weather on TV.

The dream that Eric Nefstead enstilled in me came true a decade ago this month when I took this job at WREX-TV. Walking into the studio, I remember thinking that “This was Eric Nefstead’s station.” Luckily for me, I got to meet him in the fall of 2003. I told him “Eric, I remember watching you on Channel 13 as a kid. You’re why I grew up to become a Meteorologist!” He joked back saying “I’m not that old!” It was nice to see him on WTVO for the past few years showcasing his love of weather and the garden. The latter part of that combo, I’ve yet to figure out. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention to “Eric’s Garden” versus “Eric’s Weather!”

His cancer took him off the air within the past year or two and he died at his home on Saturday.

While I didn’t get the chance to work with him, I was grateful to have known him…and learn from him.

It’s my goal to be as good of a role model as he was, knowing the next weatherman named Eric may be watching me do the weather every night. It was bittersweet walking into the station today, knowing the guy who blazed my weather trail is gone.

Memorial services are planned for this Saturday. You can find more information by clicking on this story on WTVO’s website. Condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at WTVO.

-Eric Sorensen, Chief Meteorologist

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This post was written by qni_it on November 4, 2013

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