Just a week ago, I attended the memorial service for longtime Seattle news guy, Jim Kampmann. He was honored well, with a huge turnout at Holy Family Church in Auburn. Jim spent 17 years in rock radio as the edgy voice of authority, while I got to know him during the next 17 years of his life that he spent as a Green River Community College Radio teacher and nice guy news presence on KIXI & KLSY. “Kampy” as he was known, became more thoughtful, caring and reflective as the years rolled by. Sadly, it’s been probably a decade since I last saw him. A lot of people commented they hadn’t seen him in a while, but it says volumes when you leave that kind of imprint on people’s lives. There are some wonderful photos of him on his Facebook Memorial Page and, because it doesn’t hurt to give it a plug, they’ve established a GoFundMe page for the Kampmann kids to cover college. Any little bit helps.
I was blessed to have met Jim, to have gotten to know him and follow his life adventures and misadventures. To those who didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him, I offer a couple of clips. Here’s a commentary he did during his tenure at Sandusky radio. And there’s this wonderful collection that John Maynard and friends put together.
However, brace yourself before watching this. It’s a behind the scenes look at Jim and really gives you a glimpse at the tremendous human being we lost. That was Kampy.
Just this morning, I found out about the loss of another Seattle radio voice. Former Smooth Jazz-kateer Cedric James lost his fast and ferocious battle against lung cancer. Cedric & I worked in the same building over there in Factoria, but most of our encounters were a quick “Hey!” while passing in the halls of Sandusky. He was a Smooth Jazz guy, I was a goofball over at KLSY. After we both ‘retired’, we connected on Facebook and stayed in touch over the years.
On March 6th, he shared the news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. All too reminiscent of my late broadcast buddy, Larry Nelson. He announced the diagnosis on Facebook and kept his friends and followers updated on his condition. Just this past Tuesday, he made his last post:
“I have reached the end of the crossroads and it’s time to make the decision. I am headed for hospice. It is time to die peacefully. My oxygen intake is facing slowly and the doctors are chasing the answer. As a result, I am pulling the plug and preparing for the end. Some time in the next week. I bid you all peace and love. May the Devine white light of mother and father God shine on your heart as it has shined on me. Amen.”
A few hours ago, his son, Cedric Jr., posted this message:
“I am sorry to inform you all of this not so great news. My father did not make the night. He passed away and he went in his sleep.”
I look back on my 30+ years in radio and have lots of fond and not-so-fond memories. But I have to say, some of the people I met along the way were nothing less than amazing. Unique. Characters.
And now, there are two less characters in my story. Gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you both again some day. God’s peace to both of you.
Tim, this was a wonderful post. I knew a kinder, gentler Kampy during my tenure at KISW and also, doing traffic reports. He was so supportive of me when others at the station were not so kind. I will love him forever, for that. I knew Cedric only by name, on the smooth jazz station. Another devastating loss.
I echo your thoughts Tim. Kampy and Cedric were among that unique breed of radio characters who pass through our lives all too quickly. As my morning news guy/co-host at KIXI Jim Kampmann was always there with his crisp new style, quick wit and punchline at the ready. But it was off the air in those so called PD meetings (read BS Sessions!) that I got to know the real Kampy. Deep thinker, positive and always ready for a better tomorrow that’s the Jim I remember.
Cedric was not only a smooth jazz guy at Sandusky but a neighbor of mine in Kirkland as well. We shared the daily commute to Factoria for the better part of a year. Cedric always was at the ready with his daily observations of life, kind of a Philosophy-101!
Kampy and Cedric were both unique in their own way and we are all a little less because of their passing
Mike “Bob” Brooks
It is so sad to lose this vibrant man. I am so thankful though to be able to reconnect with Cedric in his last days and tell him what he means to me. He faced the end of his life with so much courage, it was absolutely inspiring.