Moshannon Valley mourns passing of radio personality Jerry Pollock

For the CDTSeptember 13, 2013 

— A radio star has gone silent in the Moshannon Valley.

Gerald “Jerry” Pollock, 69, passed away Monday at his home in Hawk Run. He had spent 45 years on the airwaves at WPHB with his good friend Sheldon Sharpless. Together, they were the voices of the area, bringing old-fashioned country tunes and polka music to their faithful listeners, along with more than a little local news and colorful commentary.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Diana Stapleford, general manager of WPHB’s parent company, Magnum Broadcasting. “Even though he was ill. His listeners didn’t really realize. He wouldn’t complain about it. Every day he showed up at the radio station just like he did on the last day of his life.”

At the Philipsburg-Osceola school board meeting Tuesday night, the news that he was gone spread slowly. The reaction was the same each time the story was repeated. A gasp, and a shocked “No, not Jerry!” What wasn’t heard was “Jerry who?” Everyone knew his name and, more importantly, his voice.

“The following that he had was just tremendous,” Stapleford said.

On Tuesday, she and her husband, Magnum owner Michael Stapleford, joined the smaller station’s staff at the tiny building on U.S. Route 322 outside Philipsburg to deal with the loss.

“We sat and we fielded phone call after phone call after phone call,” she said. “You realized just the base of listeners that radio station has.”

But she wasn’t surprised. When Pollock first fell ill, he received more than 3,000 cards from his audience, wishing him well.

Pollock was no faceless voice. His presence was well-known in the community.

He was a life member and past chief and president of the Morris Township Fire Company, and an emergency medical technician. He and his wife, Alice, were active in their church, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hawk Run. He was honored for years of service by the Bucktail Council of the Boy Scouts.

The loss is being felt by those who worked with him.

“I pray for an overflowing measure of grace from listeners, as I go on-air today. Jerry, you’re one of a kind. Nobody can fill your shoes. Let my words and songs honor you this week. My heart is heavy. I will never forget you. Rest peacefully,” Gina Raymond March wrote on Facebook on Wednesday morning.

The station manager said she will be working with P.J. Mullen and Chuck Myers to keep Pollock’s listeners happy with the unique, eclectic blend of country, oldies, gospel and polka that came to define his airtime.

Pollock’s funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

The family is honoring Pollock’s giving spirit with the request that donations be made in his name to the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s Blizzard Box program, which gives homebound elderly that receive Meals on Wheels packages of shelf-stable foods for those days when bad weather makes deliveries impossible.

Donations to his church are also encouraged.

“He was a good friend, and very well-respected in the community,” Stapleford said. “He will be deeply missed.”

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