The following is a tribute given by Lisa Petrillo, CBS4 entertainment & lifestyle reporter, a former colleague and 30-year friend of Local 10 anchor and reporter, Todd Tongen, who passed away last week. ?
If you’re on Facebook you might have read my post where I mentioned that Todd called me “linguine”.. a long, Italian noodle. I don’t know why.
For me – it was “Toddy T” or “t-burger with cheese” … extra *cheesey* we’d both agree when it came to him.
During those early years at Channel 10 .. when these long-lasting friendships were first formed, as Forrest Gump would say, “He was my best good friend.. and we were like peas and carrots.”
For me, going to work every day was never a task. It was fun because Todd made everything fun. I was just starting out – doing entertainment and lifestyle and he was the weatherman, and the most talented feature writer, and on-air goof-ball I had ever seen.
Those years at Channel 10 were magical .. we were young – filled with hopes and dreams with all the world ahead of us … whenever there were moments of doubt- or fear- we always had each others’ back.
For me, no one more so than Todd. He was always there with an ear to listen -a shoulder to cry on, a pat on the back and most importantly a laugh to fill your soul.
We all know the public persona of the larger than life Todd Tongen .. the gregarious, life of the party guy.. which he was.. but he was really so much more.. he was caring, empathetic, loyal and wickedly smart.
As our lives progressed and we all moved onto different jobs, growing families with divergent paths .. we were not able to see each other as much as we’d like .. so whether it was a happy run-in on a story we were both covering -a quick call to catch up on our families and the recent gossip at our respective tv stations – or a funny text between us – it made my day to connect with my old friend .
I will cherish these memories and know that we still have his ear, his pat on our backs.. and hopefully soon, when this intense sadness loses its grip – we will again have his laughter to fill our souls.
Love you, Todd
Todd’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.