Dyer died of heart failure Feb. 24 at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 76.
In 1965, he became the first African-American journalist hired by a Los Angeles network-owned and operated television station KNXT-TV, which later became KCBS.
With a heavy heart while fighting back tears, Lois Pitter-Bruce, Southern California Edison Corporate Communications and BJASC member, eulogized her former co-worker during the funeral services.
“On behalf of former, and current members of the CBS “family,” I want to extend our deepest condolences to his beloved “Dot” wife Doris, his children Monica, Joey, Kim and Karen.
And I want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your husband and father with us because I know we cheated you out of time with him. When he should have been with you, he was guiding, nurturing, supporting and advocating for us.
Joe had a much bigger family that just those named Dyer. He was “OUR” Joe –alternately father, uncle, mentor, psychologist, stockbroker, career counselor .…but most importantly, our friend. Doris had to move out of the way when my 91-year-old Mom was around Joe – she knew she had to give them “their” time together.
I met Joe when I was a scared, shy USC intern…yes, imagine that! And much of what became of me professionally was a result of the trail he blazed at CBS.Yes, he was a trailblazer. The first African-Am reporter on KNXT, the first African-American writer and producer back in the days of the “Big News”, the first African-American major department head at the station…. and his lasting legacy as the dean of community affairs. No one could do it like Joe. He set the standard. And he opened the door for us to get inside. A former colleague wrote in an email yesterday calling him the silent warrior – a fitting description. Joe fought for equality and fairness with a quiet dignity, professionalism and class.
But his most significant impact on me (and on so many of us who did time at the big house on El Centro and Sunset) was his influence as a man, as a person.
I can’t tell you the number of times I hear him in my head… “stay the course…”
“you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt.” His impact was not just in his words but in his actions. Joe treated everyone the same – with respect and courtesy.
I know his assistant, Rolando, tried so hard to keep us out of his office…sorry, Rolando. He couldn’t hold back the tide of anchors and janitors, managers and production assistants, reporters and writers, station execs and mailroom employees…all of us who would beat a path to his door, again and again, and that door was always open. He always made time for us. He listened.
Joe Dyer was our lighthouse in the storm; the rock we clung to when we were tossed and torn by as Tony Cox put it “the machinations of the cuthroat TV news industry.” Joe bandaged our wounded wings when they were clipped; he threw us a lifeline and brought us to shore when we were thrown overboard… he took us in out of the cold, sheltering us in his warmth, and gave us a safe place to just BE… a place to be ourselves and just breathe. He bought us time to calibrate, regroup, dust ourselves off till we could get up and get back in the race.
Joe was a gentle man…….and, undeniably, a true Southern gentleman whose impeccable integrity marked everything he did.
His legacy is prolific and profound – he’s gone but his influence endures in so many of us. There’ll never be another like him. We’ve been enriched and elevated by Joe Dyer. I am honored to have been in the presence of this good and decent man.
You’ve run the good race, Joe. Now rest in peace. God bless.”