Kiro Anchor Gary Justice Leaving Television To Pursue Second Career
Longtime Seattle anchor Gary Justice said yesterday he will leave television at the end of the year to pursue a second career at an estate-planning business that emphasizes charitable trusts.
Justice, who anchors the morning and noon news on KIRO-TV (Channel 7), will end a 22-year stint at the station around Christmastime.
"At age 52, I figured I had only one more opportunity to go off and do something exciting," Justice said.
Justice will work for James Feek Corp. of Seattle, an independent insurance brokerage. He has known the company's president, James Feek, since the 1970s and is in a six-month transition during which he has been learning the business.
"Essentially what's happened is I work here from 4 in morning until the noon news is off at 1, and most days I go down to our offices in Seattle and learn the business," Justice said.
In the 1980s, when KIRO was at or near the top of the news ratings, Justice was one of the market's most-visible anchors. In recent years the station has struggled, and during a particularly rocky transition last year, during which longtime co-anchor Susan Hutchison left TV and before the arrival of news director Bill Lord, Justice ran the newsroom briefly.
Last fall Lord chose Steve Raible to be KIRO's main male anchor, and Margaret Larson was signed to join him. Justice has since anchored the morning news from 5 to 7 a.m., with Janet Wu, and the noon newscast, with Joyce Taylor.
"Actually, the greatest incentive for all of this is not a `negative' in all the changes we've undergone here and the turmoil as much as the timing is just right," Justice said.
Justice grew up in Spanaway, Pierce County, graduated from Washington State University in 1965 and worked at KIMA-TV in Yakima and KING-TV before joining KIRO in 1972 as the station's 11 p.m. anchor. He was sports director for a time, doing the first TV play-by-play of a Seahawks game and doing commentary for KIRO-TV's broadcast of SuperSonics basketball games, working with Pete Gross.
"I resigned from KIRO in 1979 to go into business with Jim (Feek). But at the time KIRO and I got back together with a promise of a bright future at KIRO news, which we had," Justice said.
From 1979 to 1986 he co-anchored KIRO's main newscasts with John Marler. From 1986 to 1993 Hutchison was his on-air partner. In 1993, KIRO introduced its failed "out of the box" format that used an ensemble of anchors, including Raible and Hutchison.
Justice and his wife, Barbara, live in Clyde Hill on the Eastside. They have three sons, ages 15, 13 and 8. Justice said he is looking forward to normal hours.
The Feek Corp. has done the bulk of its business on the East Coast. Justice will oversee an effort to generate business here.
"Through use of charitable trusts and life insurance we bring a lot of money into local charities, educational institutions and other nonprofits," Justice said, "at same time helping meet retirement and estate-planning needs of donors.
"This is a longtime association I've had with Jim and this has always been a possibility, that we would get back together again."
Justice said the change is not related to last week's announcements that KIRO-TV is being sold by Bonneville International Corp. to A.H. Belo Corp. and that CBS will change its TV affiliation to KSTW-TV (Channel 11).
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