Chet Curtis, legendary Boston news anchor, died Wednesday, Jan. 22 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74.

Newsman Chet Curtis Dies At 74

Curtis, who was recently inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, was perhaps best known for his on air romance with co-anchor Natalie Jacobson. The duo began by co-anchoring Boston’s Channel 5 midday news in 1972, later separating professionally only to be reunited onscreen in 1982 as co-anchors for the nightly news broadcast. The couple were married in 1975 and quickly became Boston’s first couple. They had one daughter together, Lindsay Curtis Wynalek, born in 1981.

Curtis and Jacobson were known as “Chet and Nat,” and their viewership continued to grow steadily during their time on air. Co-workers remember Curtis as an expert newsman, a journalist, who could ad lib about anything and everything.

“[Curtis] could talk tall ships and sloops, the Queen and her royal entourage, the Pope and Synod II – there was no issue too trite or complex for Chet. If he had to fill 8 hours of airtime for a major snowstorm – his rich detail left you wanting more, even if he was really repeating the same thing in different words,” remembered Emily Rooney.

“Chet and Nat” remained Boston’s most beloved couple until their separation in 1999. The divorce took the viewers by surprise; ratings began to slip, and both Jacobsen and Curtis ended up separating their program into two separate newscasts in 2000 – the divorce was finalized in 2001.

Natalie Jacobson Remembers Chet Curtis

“I’m grateful for the years we had,” said an emotional Jacobson in an interview with Channel 5, WCVB. “I’m grateful for the three children… I’m sad Chet died, really. I really am.”

In another interview, Jacobson expressed her happiness that Curtis lived long enough to see his last daughter’s wedding:

“I’m just profoundly sad that Chet’s life ended so soon. But I like to try to look to the positive and think happy thoughts on really sad days. So I’m very happy that since his diagnosis, which was Thanksgiving of 2012, that he’s had some quality of life, and most importantly, [that he] was able to be at his third daughter’s wedding and give her away.”

Curtis is survived by his three daughters, Dana Curtis Keep, Dawn Curtis Hanley and Lindsay, his grandchildren, and partner Kerry Kristine.

“We have been blessed to grow up watching how our father lived his life – with unwavering kindness, compassion and gratitude. We learned so much from him, but his greatest gift was to teach us how to love. Our hearts are heavy today but we take comfort in knowing that he will live on in the hearts, eyes and smiles of all who knew and loved him,” the daughters said in a statement.

Curtis’ family has requested that, should fans want to reach out, they donate to The Genesis Foundation for Children in honor of Curtis instead of sending flowers or gifts.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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