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Robert L. Gist, television news anchorman

April 29, 1938 - March 21, 2017

Robert L. Gist, a former anchorman and reporter for WGRZ-TV, died Tuesday after a long illness in Buffalo. He was 78.

Born in Union, S.C., Gist, known as "Bob," moved here as an adolescent and graduated from Lafayette High School in 1956. Before attending college, Gist took a job as cameraman for the former WGR-TV. He also was a newsreader for WGR-550 AM.

Gist attended Columbia University, where he studied communications. He received the Michelle Clark Fellowship for minority journalists.

During the mid-1970s, Gist served as a reporter and weekend anchor for the former WGR-TV.

In the late 1970s, he and his family moved to Houston, where he worked as an anchor for KHOU-TV.

In 1983 Gist returned to Buffalo and his old station, now called WGRZ. He served as news anchor during "Cat's Pajamas," an overnight show that also featured former weatherman Barry Lillis. Gist also co-hosted the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

"He was a soft-spoken man with a sharp wit," said Donna Gist Hughes, his oldest daughter. "He respected the people he was interviewing, especially their right to privacy when it involved the loss of family members."

He retired from broadcasting in the 1980s, and worked as sales clerk at United Men's on Bailey Avenue until he fully retired.

In the late 1950s Gist entertained in local clubs, singing with the Dulcetones, an R&B group.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, the former Joyce Filarecki; a son, Robert; two daughters, Donna Gist Hughes and Diane De Laet; and eight grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.

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