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1923 Robert 2015

Robert N Briley

September 20, 1923 — August 10, 2015

Briley, Robert ‘Bob’ (Age 91) Robert ‘Bob’ Briley, 91, of Spokane, WA passed from life on August 10, 2015. Bob was born in 1923, the only child of Bernice ‘Peg’ and Neil Briley. His father died when Bob was just four years old. Peg and young Bobby struggled through the Great Depression, Peg working for Ma Bell and Bobby picking up odd jobs, including being a newsboy. Bob graduated from Rogers High School in 1941. Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as an 18-year-old (and not telling his mother), Bob joined the Army Air Corps in the summer of ’42 and became a radio operator on a C-87 transport plane. He flew to South America, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, and eventually China, where he undertook the critical mission known as ‘Flying the Hump,’ bringing gasoline, munitions, and supplies to the Chinese in their fight against the Axis, while ferrying Chinese soldiers back into India for training. His final duties were round-the-clock flying injured marines out of Okinawa back to the states until the end of 1945.   In 1947, Bob married his sweetheart, Doris Nelson, and began his first ‘on air’ radio job while attending Gonzaga University. Soon after, he began working for his first broadcast employer, KFPY Radio. He transitioned to KNEW Radio in 1950, running the board and producing newscasts. He broke into television on KHQ in 1954, reporting and anchoring on both TV and Radio. He continued anchoring until 1976.   Broadcast highlights include color commentary and television play-by-play for the Spokane Indians in the 1960’s. Bob said the biggest local story he covered was the Sunshine Mine Disaster in 1972. In 1980, Bob was the announcer for the Winter Olympics figure skating events in Lake Placid, NY. He also witnessed the ‘Miracle On Ice’ when the U.S. Hockey Team beat the Russians. The next year he announced the World Figure Skating Championships in Hartford, CT. Bob retired from KHQ-TV in 1988 where he served for 35 years as a reporter, photographer, news anchor, baseball announcer and Public Affairs Director, but he didn’t retire for long. He continued to work on a part-time basis for KHQ, hosting the popular senior show ‘Prime Timers.’ In 1992, Bob was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences ‘Silver Circle’ for his significant contributions to both the industry and the community throughout his career. He went to work alongside his daughter, Robin Briley, at KXLY-TV in 1995, producing and reporting on human interest and senior issues. Two years later he received a commendation from the National Radio & Television Broadcasters Association for 50 years of outstanding service. At the culmination of his 58-year broadcasting career, Bob received an Emmy Award for his reporting on the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Throughout his life Bob volunteered countless hours in youth activities and other community interests, including Spokane Americans Youth Hockey, Lilac City Figure Skating Club, United States Figure Skating Association, Youth Employment Service, Lilac Blind Foundation, American Red Cross, Community Colleges of Spokane, District 81 ‘Partners’ Program and countless more. He loved broadcasting. And, above all, he loved his family, even turning down job offers from New York City, San Francisco and Seattle to raise his family in Spokane and stay close to his beloved cabin on Spirit Lake. Bob and Doris just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. He was the epitome of a great father to his children, Bob Briley, Jr. (Elaine Briley) and Robin Briley (Jim Bolser), and he was a doting grandfather to Brett James Briley, Jared Robert Briley, Kristin Briley Cowan, and Casey Briley Cowan. He will be deeply missed, but always remembered. Bob loved life and never wanted a somber funeral… If anything, he wanted a party. So, we will celebrate the ‘Life of Bob Briley’ later this fall. To be continued…. If you’d like to make a donation in Bob Briley’s name, please send to the Gonzaga University Broadcasting Department. Commerce.cashnet.com/urgutv
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