It Was a Send-off that Would Have Made Brian Teigland Proud

I had to leave town last Saturday morning for a trip that had been a full year in the planning and to be quite honest I was not a real happy camper about it.  The departure came one day after I learned of the death of Memphis TV weatherman Brian Teigland and I knew that I would not be able to attend a memorial service which I was sure would be held the following Monday or Tuesday.  Imagine my surprise upon returning to Memphis that the memorial service for BT was slated for Saturday August 2.  Not only would I be in town and able to make it, it would also be broadcast on WPTY and would available on the internet.  Brian would have been proud.

I’m reminded of something I was told years ago and there is truth in the old saw attributed to Frank Skinner that “You can spend your life trying to be popular but, at the end of the day, the size of the crowd at your funeral will be largely dictated by the weather.”  It was a pretty decent turnout (IMHO) and other than being blistering hot, the weather wasn’t bad.  Brian would have been proud.

I followed WREG weatherman Todd Demers into Bellevue and we were sent over to what could only be described as the TV area.  Granted, there were folks who had worked in the Memphis TV businesses scattered across the auditorium but they were really concentrated over in this general area.  I saw some folks  I hadn’t seen in quite a while, many of them former co-workers at WREG.  We had more than enough folks gathered at Bellevue to put on newscasts for at least three stations if not more.  Brian would have been proud.

The service was nicely done from video tributes to personal comments from folks who used to work with Brian and those who competed against him on-air while being close friends with him off-air.  For those who didn’t know Brian that well, they learned a bit more about this man from a small town in Iowa who touched so many lives through his nightly weather-casts, telethons and just day to day living.  Brian would have been proud.

The service ran an hour and 15 minutes and as I mentioned, it was broadcast live.  I was told WPTY was prepared to broadcast for one hour and 30-minutes if necessary.  This from a man who was routinely given only three minutes or so each night to do his weather gig.  Brian would have been proud.

After the service, it was like old home week as the folks in the auditorium mingled and laughed and talked about Brian and some of his shenanigans.  We also just visited with each other, swapping war stories about days gone by and getting re-acquainted.  I think I hung around there for about 45 minutes just chatting.  I missed getting to see some folks but all in all it was a chance to chat with old friends which helped ease the sting of why we were all there in the first place.  Brian would have been proud.

Afterwards, I’m told some of those on hand were headed off to a nearby watering hole to visit some more and I’m sure tell more Brian related stories.  I wasn’t able to join in as I had some other obligations.  Still, the service for Brian has been on my mind since Saturday morning.  I think about the family Brian has left behind and I know they miss him terribly.  I think of his friends and former co-workers who gathered one last time to celebrate Brian’s life.  Brian was only 53, yet managed to touch numerous lives everywhere he went.  He was a born comedian, a ham, a weatherman who made watching him fun, a co-worker who made those around him enjoy being at work and just an all around good guy who wanted to make a difference.  That’s how I remember him and I think a lot of others will too.  Brian would have been proud.

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6 Comments on “It Was a Send-off that Would Have Made Brian Teigland Proud”

  1. Pam Crittendon Roberson Says:

    Joe,
    Great tribute. I hated the reason for the gathering, but it was great to see so many old friends and colleagues. It really felt like a family reunion. We were all blessed to have known Brian. There was plenty of laughter between the tears, and I agree he would have been proud to know he brought us all together to share a smile.

  2. Doug Johnson Says:

    As you and Pam point out, it was both touching and heartfelt and paid deserving tribute to a really good guy.

    A friend told me that it would be their preference to celebrate a life while the subject is still there to participate. I agree, but while Brian wasn’t there in body, I do truly believe he was there in spirit, and I think that’s something everyone there felt.

    I let a former NC3er who lives out west know that the event was on 24’s website. I believe he appreciated the opportunity to share the experience.

    As you mention, Brian touched a lot of lives. He visited a little goodness on all of us, and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to draw on that goodness from time to time when we need it. Thanks Brian.

  3. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    Great tribute and well said! My words would be grossly insufficient to pay tribute to Brian. Words are human expressions and oft times we cannot find the right things. I liked him and respected him alot.

    While I am here and while you can appreciate it, I would like to say thanks Joe, for all you did while on Television in the early mornings. I often wondered about the hair and the happy disposition you always had.
    Having no pets of my own I enjoyed hearing about yours. I also enjoyed the intelligent, if not dry humored, conversations between yourself and Mary Beth and Todd.
    You always made mornings an okay thing to do. You are missed on morning television.
    I say these things because, when it’s your time, you may not hear them in the conventional sense. There are going to be many others with positive things to say about you and I wanted you to be able to read mine now as opposed to later. Joe, you are a swell guy.

    Let us hope we all made at least one person happy, while we had the chance.

  4. joelarkins Says:

    JD, thank you for the kind words. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. It’s nice to know that someone besides my wife watched and would admit to watching back in the day.
    And as always, thanks for checking in.
    Regards

  5. Tom Stocker Says:

    JL and all who follow this great blog,

    Yes, it’s been over a week since the service and almost two weeks since his all-too-premature passing, but I’m finally able to deal with the fact that BT is gone.

    We’re in our busiest time of the year here in the vacation destination of Hayward, WI. I was preparing the restaurant for a busy Friday night when I got Jerry Tate’s call with the terrible news. I cried during the call, and for a long time afterwards. The BEST time I ever spent as a sports anchor was with JT and BT. We were young(er) and thought it would last forever. Man, did we have fun. We were friends on and off the air. We truly enjoyed being with each other.

    My biggest regret was not spending some time with BT on the golf course or anywhere after we went our separate ways. The last time I saw him was when I announced I was leaving the Redbirds to move to Wisconsin. Channel 24 was so kind in asking me to be on the air live and I brought BT one of my bobblehead dolls from the Redbirds. I didn’t know it would be the last time.

    My point? You never know when it’s the last time, so when you see one of your former colleagues don’t just say,” we’ll get together.” Make plans and do it. You never know.

    Right now BT is pulling a Weatherbag stunt on the Great Forecaster in Heaven.

  6. joelarkins Says:

    Tom,
    Good hearing from you and thanks for checking in,
    Regards


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