|Subject: Longtime WFSB-TV news anchor Denise D'Ascenzo ...
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Date Posted: Sunday, December 08, 01:31:35pm
In reply to:
's message, "More info please." on Saturday, December 07, 10:24:03pm
Longtime WFSB-TV news anchor Denise D'Ascenzo ...
By Kenneth R. Gosselin / Hartford Courant
Dec 08, 2019
Longtime WFSB-TV, Channel 3, anchor Denise D'Ascenzo died Saturday, the television station announced late Saturday. She was 61.
"It was sudden and unexpected," the station's statement said. "The grief we are all feeling is immeasurable. We are devastated for her husband and daughter, who were her whole life."
The cause of her death was not disclosed late Saturday.
D'Ascenzo came to WFSB in 1986, and "through the years has been a steady and reassuring presence on the anchor desk covering all the major local and national news stories of the day," the statement said.
In her career, D'Ascenzo won 11 Emmys for broadcast journalism, and most recently anchored Channel 3. 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekday newscasts.
Tributes to D'Ascenzo came pouring in Saturday as word of her passing spread in the community and on social media.
Gov. Ned Lamont noted that D'Ascenzo was the longest serving news anchor at a single television station in Connecticut, entering millions of homes for more than 30 years.
"Through her dedicated work and dependable reporting, she earned the distinction of being a trusted name in journalism and her reporting most certainly made an impact," Lamont said in a statement. "The work journalists provide is a vital public service, and through her career, Denise dedicated herself to the people of Connecticut."
He added: "She is undoubtedly a Connecticut news legend."
In addition to steady and reassuring presence on the news anchor desk, D¡¯Ascenzo traveled to file special reports on such events as the 1988 Republican National Convention, the U.S. visit of Pope John Paul II, the crash of United flight 232 and the arrest of the Washington, D.C., sniper.
"Denise had a tremendous influence on generations of viewers across Connecticut through her dedication, passion and devotion to telling the stories that mattered," said Andrew Julien, publisher & editor-in-chief at The Courant. "We were lucky to have her as a colleague, and we will miss her greatly."
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal observed that D'Ascenzo "epitomized competence, class and integrity. ... We will miss her huge heart, her boundless generosity and her tireless grace."
In the community, D'Ascenzo was a strong advocate for raising awareness of medical conditions such as breast cancer, heart disease and obesity. She also was recognized for work with such charitable organizations as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mary's Place and Channel 3 Kids Camp.
Dana Neves, WFSB's general manager, remembers interning at the station in the 1990s, and how well she was treated by D'Ascenzo right from the first day.
Her on air persona "coming across the airwaves as friendly and accessible was not an act, Neves said. That's how D'Ascenzo was in the newsroom, at staff events outside the office and anywhere else, Neves said.
During the toughest stories "the Lottery and Hartford Distributor shootings and especially the Sandy Hook school massacre "D'Ascenzo was a steady, reassuring presence.
"It feels like we've lost our captain," Neves said. "In a crisis, we'd say, "Let's go and get Denise." Now, she's become the crisis, and it's really jarring."
The sheer sudden nature of her death caught everyone off guard.
Channel 3 led its 11 p.m. newscast Saturday with a tribute and personal remembrances delivered by a visibly-shaken Dennis House, D'Ascenzo's longtime co-anchor.
"Denise was more than a co-anchor of mine for the last 25 years. She was the sister I never had, and I was her brother that she never had," House said. "She was my TV wife, and we were best friends."
Longtime colleague Gerry Brooks, reflecting on Facebook, wrote: "I am stunned, I am dumbfounded, and I have no adequate words right now to say how much I thought of Denise. I will say this: she is everything you thought she was. And she took good care of herself. Which reminds me how random the lottery of life is. As my mother used to say, "It goes by so fast.¡± Rest easy, Denise. You will be badly and sadly missed."
Saturday's tribute on Channel 3 recalled everything from the Farrah Fawcett-style hairdo D¡¯Ascenzo sported when joining the station to her stepping up to lead a prayer service outside Channel 3¡äs studios after the 9/11 attacks, and her passion for hosting the local Jerry Lewis telethon to raise money for muscular dystrophy research.
D'Ascenzo was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in suburban Maryland, where she took an early interest in journalism, a profile on Channel 3¡äs website notes. At 12, she launched the first newspaper in her grammar school and went on to become editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper.
She was the first to receive a scholarship from the American Newspaper Women¡¯s Club to attend a summer journalism program at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
D'Ascenzo landed her first television job at WIXT-TV in Syracuse, while a senior at Syracuse University. Hired for the nightly weather forecasting segment, D'Ascenzo came on full time as a reporter and forecaster after she graduated with dual degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.
Later, D'Ascenzo worked in St. Louis as a reporter and talk show host at KSDK-TV. She then moved on to Cleveland as anchor for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at WJKW-TV.
In 2013, D'Ascenzo was elected to the Silver Circle, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for significant contributions to broadcasting. Two years later, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
D'Ascenzo is survived by her husband Wayne and daughter Kathryn.
Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at email@example.com.
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