BATON ROUGE – For twenty years, John Mahaffey was the face of WBRZ News. That million-dollar smile, iconic voice, often mocked but never duplicated. Remembered as the duke by his colleagues and remembered as dad by his loving daughters.
“I was so lucky to have him as my father. Life’s flowers bud. The bloom and they wilt, and life goes on. I miss that great man, my daddy,” Mahaffey’s daughter Merilee said.
“He loved it when people came up to shake his hand,” Merilee Mahaffey said. She kept the conversations light hearted and jovial, just as her dad would have wanted.
“On the school bus, I was in fifth grade, one of the boys said, 'that's Water Cronkite’s daughter,” she laughed. John Mahaffey was the Walter Cronkite of Baton Rouge.
“When the lights went on and he was sitting on the set he was serious,” former WBRZ news director John Spain said. “He was the guy in your house that told you the good and the bad each day. When he was off the air, he was the most gentle, kindest warmest human being you'd ever meet.”
Margaret Lawhon sat next to Mahaffey, delivering the day’s news for 10 years. She spoke of their friendship that lasted years beyond their time together at WBRZ.
“One of the assurances of our shared faith is that when one of our loved ones passes away, life with them has not ended but it has changed,” Lawhon said. “The relationship that we share and the love that flows between us will continue forever”