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'He loved everyone he met' | Iconic KENS 5 journalist Gary DeLaune passes away

DeLaune was the first person to report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, among many distinctions in his decades-long career in news.

SAN ANTONIO — Gary DeLaune, the longtime San Antonio journalist who spent 28 years with KENS 5, has passed away, his family said Sunday morning in a Facebook post.

"Early this morning our Dad went home to be with Jesus," the family said in the post. "We feel his loss deeply, but are overjoyed thinking about the homecoming he received last night in Heaven. (Back by our mom’s side where he belongs.)"

Early this morning our Dad went home to be with Jesus. We feel his loss deeply, but are overjoyed thinking about the...

Posted by Gary DeLaune on Sunday, February 6, 2022

"Dad lived a big life and genuinely found everyone he met amazing. He loved Jesus with all his heart, which was evident the way he loved everyone he met."

All told, DeLaune spent six decades in the news industry, working in television and radio and covering everything from Dallas Cowboys games to San Antonio high school sports.

"Gary was a friend to all, and he loved sports, especially high school football," KENS 5 sports anchor Joe Reinagel said. "The stadiums won't be the same without him. He will be missed, but the memory of who he was will live forever."

Earlier in his career, DeLaune covered the assassination of John. F. Kennedy for KLIF radio in Dallas, becoming the first reporter anywhere to go on air with the news of the shooting.

He also was on the scene of the San Antonio Fiesta sniper attack in 1979.

We lost a great one today. Gary DeLaune was one of a kind. A broadcasting legend. A great friend and mentor. I met...

Posted by Jason Minnix on Sunday, February 6, 2022

After working on radio in the 1960s, the Oklahoma-born DeLaune arrived in the Alamo City in 1971 to work at KENS 5, where he remained for nearly three decades. His voice also was heard broadcasting games for the San Antonio Spurs, UTSA Roadrunners and University of Incarnate Word Cardinals.

"Gary DeLaune loved people and telling their stories. He was a colorful reporter and sportscaster, both in his writing and his wild sports coats," KENS 5 news anchor Deborah Knapp said. "He was always a joy to be with, and we stayed in touch after he retired from KENS 5. He was one of a kind."

We lost an original this morning. Gary DeLaune loved life and people. His colorful writing, reporting and sports jackets...

Posted by Deborah Knapp - KENS 5 on Sunday, February 6, 2022

"When he retired from KENS, he came home and my mom said, 'Well, that's that'll about do it with the sports coats.' Most of those went to charity auctions," said DeLaune's son, Shannon. "People who were passionate about it, they wanted those autographed and even one guy who was buried in one."

DeLaune may have gotten rid of the jackets, but not the style. He was sporting a red plaid shirt and red plaid tie at Christmas 2020. 

"The thing about Gary was just his magnetism, everybody that he had a conversation with, it felt like he was your best friend," said coach Ron Rittimann of Alamo Heights. "Watching Gary on the sports cast, on the TV at night, getting all your information about sports, making notice of the color of his jackets... to then years later having that relationship with him. I feel like I've been very blessed to have known him, and we're gonna miss him more than most people know."

In addition to dedicating his life to journalism, DeLaune's accomplishments are numerous, including being inducted into the Lone Star Basketball, Texas Radio, San Antonio Radio and San Antonio Sports hall of fames.

One week ago, DeLaune shared on Facebook that he was recovering from a battle with COVID-19 and was in good spirits. His family said that he came down with a fatal case of pneumonia.

Thank you to everyone for your many prayers and well wishes. I'm slowly recovering from my bout with COVID. My need...

Posted by Gary DeLaune on Sunday, January 30, 2022

His family said the funeral plans are pending.

"One thing for sure we will be celebrating the incredible life he lived and true to our promise to him, everyone will wear his favorite…bright colors, 'because black is depressing.'" they said. "Thank you all for your prayers, they have been felt."

It is ironic that Gary DeLaune passed away quietly this morning. More than anyone I have ever met, he lived out loud....

Posted by Richard C. Oliver on Sunday, February 6, 2022

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