Longtime producer, director, and writer at WHAS-TV, Bob Pilkington passed away on March 4. He participated in the WHAS Crusade for Children from the very first year in 1954 until last year – that’s 66 in a row. He was the last survivor who had a part in every Crusade for Children telethon.
The photo below, taken in WHAS11 Studio H during the 60th annual WHAS Crusade for Children in 2013, shows (left to right) WHAS11’s Melissa Swan, longtime volunteer Ted Throckmorton, Bob Pilkington, WHAS broadcast pioneer Milton Metz, and WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners.
Ted, Bob and Milton appeared annually on the Crusade telethon for more than 60 years. Ted passed away in 2015 and Milton in 2017.
And we recently received this from Bob’s son:
“He also did “Small Talk,” “Randy & Lolita” (the talking parrot, a cartoon show), covered races at Churchill Downs, specials, and special events. Then Louisville Productions…Those earlier shows haven’t got much mention…
Thanks for the great article, we really appreciate how the station has remembered him.”
There are more photos of Bob on the Crusade’s Facebook page, just click here.
See this video from the 60th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on the Crusade’s Facebook page, just click here.
Here’s his obituary as published in the Courier-Journal:
Louisville – Bob Pilkington, age 94, of Louisville, KY, passed away on March 4, 2020. He was predeceased by his wife of 40 years, Audrey E (Wedel) Pilkington, and brother Thomas A Pilkington. He is survived by his children Robert P Pilkington and wife Kaoruko H Yoshida-Pilkington, of Boston, MA; Dr. Constance J Pilkington, of Williamsburg, VA; and David B Pilkington and wife Lisa A (Kersten) Pilkington of Grayslake, IL and their, two sons Colin D Pilkington and Corey R Pilkington.
He served in the infantry in World War II, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was a POW, and was awarded the Purple Heart. His career as a producer, director, and writer at WHAS-TV began in 1951, retiring from there in 1989. Notable credits include: weekly television shows such as Hayloft Hoedown and T-Bar-V Ranch; numerous local and regional documentaries; and 66 years of volunteer work with the WHAS Crusade for Children. He was an avid volunteer at Historic Locust Grove and Reading for the Blind. Memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 at St. John Lutheran Church, 901 Breckenridge Lane. Visitation will be Thursday, March 12 from 5-8 p.m. at Pearson’s, 149 Breckenridge Ln. and Friday from 3-4 p.m. at the church. As a memorial, the family would appreciate donations to WHAS Crusade for Children or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Published in The Courier-Journal from Mar. 8 to Mar. 9, 2020
Bob received the Crusade’s Buddy Award in 2007
Here’s the story as it appeared on WHASCrusade.org in 2007.
One of the original Crusaders, veteran WHAS-TV producer-director Bob Pilkington was honored with the WHAS Crusade for Children Buddy Award. The “Buddy” is given annually to someone who goes above and beyond in supporting the Crusade. It’s named in honor of longtime Crusade Executive Director Bud Harsbmeier.
Bob was given the award during the 54th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on Sunday, June 3, 2007 in the 3:00pm hour.
Bob Pilkington is what one would call a TV pioneer. Working at WHAS-TV in the 1950’s and 60’s, he produced daily live TV shows. Writing content like comedy sketches from scratch each and every day. He directed legendary WHAS-TV shows “T-Bar-V” and “Hayloft Hoedown.” This was in the day when all TV was LIVE without the benefit of editing to correct a miscue.
“Pilk,” as his pals call him, is one of only four people who have participated in all 54 annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethons. And he worked on the two Cerebral Palsy telethons, the granddaddy of the Crusade, that aired on WHAS-TV in 1952 and 1953. The Crusade was born in 1954. The other three original Crusaders are Milton Metz, Ted Throckmorton and Dave Dumeyer, Sr.
Even during this year’s Crusade, Pilk did his usual shift as he’s done for years. Strapping on a headest and telling camera operators what shots to get, he directed the live broadcast in Studio G Control for a 3-hour shift.
When presented the “Buddy” by Crusade CEO Rebecca Jackson and award namesake Bud Harbsmeier, he was speechless. With his signature dry wit, he said, “I’m just getting back at all the people who did that to me!” Meaning those people who wouldn’t say much when interviewed in Bob’s day.
But later, he said, “I’m very grateful for the honor and the recognition.” Congratulations Pilk!
According to studies at the Centers for Disease Control, one in nine babies in Kentucky is born prematurely, which can lead to a host of medical issues. The Anderson family faced the challenge of their son Austin’s premature birth. But they found timely help thanks to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and the WHAS Crusade for Children.
Since 2014, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has received $177,000 in Crusade grants. Those funds have given families confidence that there is healthcare available to allow premature babies like Austin to get a proper start in life.
The number of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum keeps growing. When Evan was diagnosed years ago, his family wasn’t certain what that meant. In Evan’s case, that sometimes meant aggressive behavior. The family now has hope thanks in part to the WHAS Crusade for Children and Jefferson County Public Schools’ Binet School.
With his progress using a communication device, Evan is beginning to attempt conversations, which is something his mother never dreamed could happen. Since 1961, Jefferson County Public Schools have received more than $10 million in Crusade grants to help students like Evan.
A first child brings lots of excitement but can also bring worry when young parents suddenly have to deal with the responsibility of being moms and dads. Matthew Ayala’s parents thought he was doing okay until he was diagnosed with autism. Once they got over the initial surprise they found help through the Adair County School system and the WHAS Crusade for Children.
Since 1995, Adair County Schools have received more than one million dollars in Crusade grants. Those funds have given students like Matthew a way to satisfy their curiosity and build their futures.
Tom & Alice Mobley attended the 2018 WHAS Crusade for Children Holiday Luncheon honoring the clergy who are panelists on Moral Side of The News and determine Crusade funding.
Watch a tribute video on our Facebook page, just click here.
Dr. Tommy Wayne Mobley, 70, of Bardstown, died December 2, 2019, at Flaget Memorial Hospital. A native of Harrodsburg, he is survived by his wife of 46 years, Alice Faye Mobley (nee Gordon); his daughter, Rachael Nickoson (Matt) Avon, IN; his son, Marcus Mobley, Bardstown; five grandsons, Justin & James Mobley, and Mathias, Levi, & Nehemiah Nickoson, Avon; one brother, James Steven Mobley (Hazel), Mt. Washington, many nieces and nephews, including Joe & John Mobley, Mt. Washington. He was preceded in death by his parents, James I. & Anna Mae Mobley.
A graduate of Fern Creek High School, he received his baccalaureate at Cincinnati Christian University and his Master’s and Doctorate from Southern Theological Seminary. He also studied at Louisville Bible College and Kentucky Southern College (U of L).
A minister of the Gospel, he was currently serving his second term as President of LBC. He previously was Registrar and Professor of Christian Education at CCU and College of the Scriptures and a Garrett Fellow at SBTS. Church ministries in Kentucky include Shiloh Christian Church (Lawrenceburg), Fairdale Christian Church (Louisville), Elsmere Church of Christ (Erlanger), and Nelson Christian Church (Bardstown) as well as First Christian Church (Scottsburg, IN). Often holding dual ministries, he also held numerous interim ministries throughout Kentuckiana.
Chaplaincy was the third aspect of his ministry for 50 years. He became Chaplain of Fern Creek Fire Dept. after serving as a “School Boy Fireman.” He later served as a Chaplain with Jefferson Co. Police Dept., Covington Police Dept., Scottsburg Police Dept., Scott Co. Sheriff’s Office (Reserve Deputy Sheriff), Louisville Division of Police (Coordinator of Chaplains), and Bardstown Police Dept. Additionally, he was FBI Chaplain with the Louisville Division for over 25 years and a Chaplain with Flaget Memorial Hospital. A member of International Conference of Police Chaplains, he held their highest level of certification, was a Certified Instructor, and served on several committees. A co-author of the first textbook on Police Chaplaincy, he taught the first-ever college and seminary courses on Police Chaplaincy.
He was a panelist on “WHAS Moral Side of the News” TV and radio program over 30 years as well as on the “WHAS Crusade for Children” Ministerial Advisory Board. He was Prayer Chairman for both North American Christian Convention and the National Missionary Convention in 1986. He was recipient of the Louisville Mayor’s Outstanding Service Award and was named to FCHS Hall of Fame. He was involved in numerous other local and national organizations.
His funeral is 11am Friday at Fern Creek Funeral Home, 5406 Bardstown Road with burial in Resthaven Memorial Park. Visitation is 3-7pm Thursday and after 9am Friday until the time of the service.
Gabriel Forrest was born with a rare genetic disorder that affects 1 in 20,000 babies. He has albinism. For Gabriel that means a lack of pigment in his skin and hair. It also affects his vision. Once the shock wore off, the family found help through agencies supported by the WHAS Crusade for Children, like Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS).
At VIPS, Gabriel gets special attention to properly prepare him for kindergarten with basic concepts of numbers, shapes and social interaction.
Since 1985, VIPS has received more than $2 million in Crusade funding. Those grants continue to guarantee that children like Gabriel have the resources they need to be successful.