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Neville Willoughby is dead

NEVILLE Willoughby, who died yesterday at the University Hospital of the West Indies, has been celebrated as one of Jamaica's premier broadcasters whose career spanned almost five decades.

Willoughby, who was 69-years-old, succumbed to injuries he sustained in an auto accident along Molynes Road Tuesday evening.

Doctors had listed his condition as serious.

Willoughby, a graduate of Jamaica College and the University of Toronto, worked at the rival Radio Jamaica (RJR) and Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) for several years.

He started his journalism career at RJR in the late 1950s but moved to the JBC in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, Willoughby returned to RJR where, for many years he hosted The Evening People Show, a folksy call-in programme.

At the time of his death, he was employed to that company as an announcer.

Alongside Allan Magnus, Don Topping, Marie Garth and Henry Stennett, Willoughby was part of a formidable RJR team during the 1970s.

Topping described his longtime friend as a "quiet, mild-mannered person".

"His strongest point was his articulation which was clear, his language was always simple and easy to understand," said Topping. "His knowledge was also broad-based."

Barbara Gloudon, who also works with RJR, first met Willoughby on a school trip to Haiti in the 1950s. She said he was the 'consummate professional".

"He was one of those persons you could never say a bad word about," she said. "For a person with so much talent, Neville never blew his own horn."

Willoughby also tried his hand at singing and had a big hit song in the catchy Yuletide number, Christmas JA.

December 21, 2006

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