Wade Goodwyn Obituary, Death – NPR has suffered the loss of a voice that was both distinctive and instantly familiar. Cancer ultimately took the life of longtime National Desk correspondent Wade Goodwyn on Thursday. He was 63. Over the course of more than 25 years, Wade was a journalist who covered his home state of Texas as well as the southwestern region of the United States. Some of the major events that he covered during that time were the bombing in Oklahoma City, school shootings, hurricanes, the murder trial of the American Sniper, and the sexual abuse crisis involving the Boy Scouts.
“For generations of public radio listeners, including me, he was one of NPR’s iconic voices,” NPR CEO John Lansing stated in an email to staff members after the news of his passing. “Wade was not only blessed with a voice that was instantly recognizable, but he was also an exceptionally gifted storyteller and a brilliant reporter.” When you started reading one of his stories, you always had the feeling that you were going to be led on an adventure by a true expert in the field. You were in for a real treat, regardless of the topic that was being discussed.
Wade’s “big, deep, rich voice” and his incisive writing had a way of drawing listeners in a little bit closer to the radio. His soothing bass also had a way of drawing people in. In one profile, he was said to have a voice that sounded like “warm butter melting over barbecued sweet corn.” However, Goodwyn maintained that his writing was the most important aspect of his career. And he was absolutely correct. If his voice drew you in, his ability with words ensured that you stayed engaged throughout. Take, for example, this quote that will stick with you from his coverage of Hurricane Rita in 2005:
“When the big blow comes, in Louisiana, you hug your NASCAR teddy bear, even if you’re a barrel-chested National Guardsman,” “You know Wade was a poet,” says Steve Drummond, a senior editor at NPR. “It was the little color or sound that he’d heard out in the field that just made what he said sparkle,” she recalled. “The little detail that he’d seen out in the field.” According to Drummond, Wade’s keen ability for observation, along with his huge, deep, and rich voice, made it a delight to listen to him on the radio, even when he was reporting unfavorable information. “He was just an amazing storyteller,” recalls Drummond about the man.