KTVH remembers Don Dunwell

HELENA – Our hearts are heavy here at KTVH. Long-time host of the Dunwell Report, Don Dunwell died Saturday at Saint Peter’s Hospital.

Don’s long and distinguished life included military service and a career as a broadcaster.

During his time with KTVH, Don was a colleague, a friend and a mentor to just about everyone he met.

Don loved being a UM Grizzly fan.

Born in Missoula, July 25, 1934, Don was the son of a civil engineer who worked for the Public Works Administration. His father’s Depression Era work brought him across the west, including the Fort Peck Dam project and later the Hungry Horse Dam.

One of Don’s first jobs was hauling water at the Hungry Horse project when he was 14 years old in 1948.

After graduating from Columbia Falls High School, where he edited the school newspaper, Don joined the US Army and qualified as a Paratrooper.

He trained Paratroopers and Pathfinders at Fort Benning Georgia.

After the Army, Don enrolled at his beloved University of Montana and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He moved on to the University of Delaware with a graduate degree scholarship.

His broadcasting career began in Wilmington, Delaware where he worked as a Disc Jockey, playing blues, folk and early rock and roll.

He then transitioned to television- a career that took him to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Lake Charles Louisiana and San Diego.

Don’s reporting took him around the world and to every corner of the United States.

Don came to KTVH in 2004 and he immediately made an impression.

Throughout his time with us, Don was a true anchor to this operation…always willing to help others, always willing to pitch-in when deadlines were tight and always getting to work early.

More importantly, in a business that can be cutthroat and ego-driven, Don never exaggerated his work, was always willing to learn new things and he acted as a mentor and guide to many young, up-and-coming broadcasters.

As host of the long-running KTVH public affairs program, the Dunwell Report, Don crafted a reputation for fairness, tough questions as well as thorough preparation.

He knew the issues and he knew the people to talk to.

Don never rested on his laurels, once he was finished with one story or one show, he’d always be looking for what to do next and how to do it better.

Like many great newsmen, Don was a good listener. Whether it was a governor or an intern, he always made time for everyone at KTVH.

Don was a fine broadcaster, a fine friend and more importantly, a fine man.

He was dedicated to his country, dedicated to his craft, and dedicated to his family.

We miss you don, may you rest in peace.

Don’s family says funeral services are pending.

KTVH’s John Riley and Dennis Carlson contributed to this story.