It's always somewhat surprising when a public figure is shy by nature, or, at least, low-keyed and unassumung.
David McElhatton, with some strong competition from Dennis Richmond, was the face of television news in the San Francisco Bay Area for several decades, not to mention a prominent voice of radio news before that, until his retirement in 2000.
In all, his career spanned a half century.
I met him just twice, in that retirement year of 2000, when he and his wife Karen came into the gallery several times over a period of a few months. The McElhattons were going to make their home in Monterey and they were interested in some art.
And they were passionate about it – Karen in her effervescent, irrepressible way; David softly curious and inquiringly. Of course, the newsman. But a very gentle newsman. His co-workers loved him as much as the public did.
Still, used to seeing him deliver the news, some of it powerful and life changing (like the best newscasters, he was most composed during the most trying times, such as the assassinations of Havrey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978), it seemed slightly surreal to have him inquire about the provenance of a hundred year old painting.
It was easy to warm up to him, though: he had that Walter Cronkite kind of quality about him. You liked him, you trusted him.
Monterey, unfortunately, did not work out for the McElhattons, though they had very much wanted it to, and they finally settled in Rancho Mirage in Southern California.
He died there Monday at age 81 and became part of the news, which he had served so well.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...