DETROIT (WWJ) – Thousands around metro Detroit were saddened Friday morning to hear that legendary weatherman Sonny Eliot had died at the age of 91.
That sadness didn’t drag them down, however, as many stopped and thought of their fondest memories of Eliot, who worked at WWJ Newsradio 950 for over 60 years.
The phones in the WWJ newsroom were ringing off the hook with people who wanted to share their stories and celebrate the life that Eliot had shared with so many.
Unlike any other in the country, Eliot’s weathercasts were a mixture of fast-paced humor, bits of far-out philosophy, one liners, improbable analogies and similes, and, not to be overlooked, easy-to-understand weather forecasts. It’s something that has touched the lives of many.
“His weather reports were so colorful. Sonny was the perfect nickname for him because he was just so bright and funny,” one caller said.
“I watched him on TV for years and made it my business every day to listen to him. I mean, he was a part of my life even though I never met him,” another caller said.
“I was a cook at a restaurant and Sonny would come in a lot. I knew who he was and I always cooked for him, and he would always put a tip in my hand. You know, most people just leave it on the table but that’s just the kind of guy he was,” one man said.
“To hear his vocabulary was exquisite, it was great. I’d use some of his jokes on my kids and they just thought I was the funniest person in the world,” another man said.
“Sonny was hilarious, especially when he would give the forecast of what was going on in other countries and say it in their language,” one woman said.
“I was a child when he was on the air and most of all, I remember him spelling fog “p-h-o-g” and that’s how I spelled the word for many years until I was grown-up and discovered spell check,” another woman said.
“He would tell us the temperature on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and then take the Keweenaw Peninsula off of the top of the state of Michigan, and hold it in his hand and squeeze it and it would squeak like a dog toy,” one man said.
“When I was a little girl my family went to the Home Builders Show at Cobo Hall. Sonny Eliot was there walking around a talking with people. When we saw him he was by the sewing machine exhibit. My Mom bought a sewing machine that day. I tell everyone that my Mom bought her sewing machine from Sonny Eliot,” Denise Muter Lonce wrote on Facebook.
Funeral services will be private.
What are your fondest memories of Sonny Eliot? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.