NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After almost 40 years of being a trusted New Orleans weather voice, the little guy will soon turn off his computer and roll up his maps and start a new chapter in his life. Bob Breck is announcing his retirement.
"It's time to try something else," Bob said. "I have good health and I still have energy."
Breck said he told station managers that he was 68 years old and wanted to work out an exit plan that was best for him and WVUE.
"It's getting harder and harder for this little body to stay up beyond 10 o'clock at night," he said, smiling.
Viewers have watched most of his life unfold.
"People have grown old with me. It's a comfort level," he said.
Breck relocated his wife and kids here from Dayton, Ohio in 1978.
"Two things I knew about New Orleans were Mardi Gras and the Sugar Bowl. I had never been to the city, and the first thing that surprised me was a lot of water around here!" he said.
Hired to replace iconic meteorologist Nash Roberts, Bob was not an immediate success.
"I had the plaid suits and was wild. I was like the energizer bunny on camera and that was a shock. Consultants said he'll never make it here. But I had a general manager that allowed me enough time to get a following."
Bob said people began to warm up to what he did.
"I story-told," he said. "That's my strength, storytelling the weather."
Bob graduated from the University of Michigan in meteorology and oceanography. He said after that, he was rejected by 33 TV stations and was told he wasn't good enough. A Tampa station gave him a shot in 1971. Then, after five years in Dayton, Ohio, New Orleans became his new frontier.
He was the calm in countless storms. His forecasts were riveting during Katrina. No matter what the weather emergency, Bob was known for getting the forecast right. Now, he's happy to pass the torch to a qualified team.
"I don't want to go through the daily weather grind. It's too taxing and stressful. FOX 8 and I have reached an agreement that I will be available this hurricane season if need be. But, with Bruce Katz, David Bernard and Nicondra Norwood, we are in good hands," he said. "They are not rookies, they've been through the fire of the major storms and know what to do."
He's always been a rock for viewers, and viewers have been there for him.
"We went through a very tough time when my late wife died," he said.
Paula Zabrecky died 13 years ago of a blood clot. Bob shared her story to help others avoid the same fate. When he asked his wife Brenda to marry him, he did it on FOX 8 airwaves.
"Brenda was the one who brought Bob back, and I want to share with my new partner for the rest of my life," he said.
His battle with prostate cancer was public, and he took us with him to radiation treatments and doctor visits. He wanted people to see what he was going through.
"This is an opportunity," he said. "It's not something negative, it's something positive."
When Bob needed a pacemaker, he educated others on his warning signs.
"Never waste pain," he said. "Take that as an opportunity to help others."
He recently took off his toupee, unveiling the results of a hair replacement procedure. It's a look he'll take into a retirement full of new frontiers.
"I'm ready for a new journey to give back and do things for other people. I don't know who they are yet, but that's the fun about where I'm going," he said, with a twinkle in his eye.