Longtime News4 reporter and anchor Joe Krebs died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. He was 78.
“He just brought so much to all of our lives, to all of us who knew him from the newsroom, from the set, the people who would do the shows behind the scenes, they know that he was a very funny guy,” said Barbara Harrison, his co-anchor for 16 years.
Joe moved to Washington in 1980 to be a crime reporter at News4, but he grew up in St. Louis where he went to law school and served as a prosecutor before serving in the Navy.
As a boy, Joe got hooked on news listening to the radio.
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“We would listen to the NBC World News Roundup, and I just thought that sounded like the neatest thing in the world to do,” he said.
All of that life experience helped shape the man and the journalist that he became.
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His stint in the Navy put him at ease when he reported from a fighter jet.
“And to be able to pull back on the stick and have that plane go up and up and up, and he said look over your head and you could see the contrail coming around as you make a complete circle, it was just thrilling,” he said.
Reporting on unsolved homicides in his ongoing series of cold case files, he used his investigative skills to bring some relief to grieving families.
He worked for causes that ranged from seeking justice for crime victims to biking hundreds of miles to raise money for AIDS research. He brought kindness, compassion and curiosity to every story.
Joe retired in 2012 after 18 years as morning anchor alongside Harrison and then Eun Yang because he wanted to travel and spend more time with his family.
“He was a great work husband, because I did a lot of talking and he did a lot of listening,” Harrison said.
Then one day, he felt an awful pain.
“It was really an incredible kick in the gut,” he said.
For three years, the CyberKnife radiotherapy device and chemo drugs brought hope and time and gave Joe a chance to share a story of courage and shifting horizons.
“I want to do what I love and I want to live the best life possible,” he said. “I want to live in the now. That’s what I want to do.”
“His determination to get well or find a cure for this disease was really apparent during his treatment,” Harrison said.
Joe Krebs is survived by his beloved wife Mary Lynne, his children Anna and Emily, his many brothers and sisters, and his grandchildren.