Cronkite had Houston roots

July 17, 2009 8:38:18 PM PDT
Walter Cronkite told America President Kennedy was dead, he stepped foot on the front lines of the Vietnam War, and watched in awe as man first walked on the moon 40 years ago Monday. Now the voice, Walter Cronkite, dubbed "the most trusted man in America," is silent.[PHOTOS: See images from the life of Walter Cronkite]

[INTERACTIVE: Take a look back at Cronkite's career]

Cronkite had roots in Houston. He attended the old San Jacinto High School and before that what used to be Lanier Junior High School.

HISD sent us a picture of him when he was a young reporter for the school paper at Lanier. We have details of the beginnings of Cronkite's journalism career right here in Houston.

Cronkite moved here with his parents when he was just ten years old. A few years later in high school, Cronkite signed up for his first journalism class.

Every legend has a beginning and those who knew Cronkite know he never forgot his roots.

"I mean, he never forgot Houston and the time he had spent here and what the city meant to him," said former White House Spokesperson Peter Roussel.

Roussel is also an Eyewitness News Political Consultant and he knew Cronkite before he anchored the CBS Evening News. He was a Houston newspaper reporter working for his uncle, Roy Roussel.

A picture from Cronkite's autobiography shows the two together during their time at the Houston Press, a newspaper that went out of business in 1964.

"The time he spent on the Houston Press here, he talks about how he learned, like anybody does in a job, how he learned the profession of journalism," said Roussel.

Cronkite's first job in journalism came even earlier during high school when he worked as a copy boy at the Houston Post.

Even late in his career, Cronkite returned to Houston to cover the development of the space program here.

Rousel remembers the impression Cronkite would leave behind.

"Yea, he was a big shot, but he didn't act like one and I admired that about him," said Roussel.

Now the legacy he left Houston will be a lasting one.

"It's a message to the world that some terrifically great talent has come out of this city," said Roussel.

Cronkite found personal reasons to return to Houston, to visit friends and to attend high school reunions.

ABC's Charles Gibson released a statement saying, "Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard. All of us who are privileged to work in the business owe him an enormous debt of gratitude."

We found it interesting that news anchors in Sweden and Holland are known as "Cronkiters."

One more note: After Cronkite retired from CBS, he was succeeded by Dan Rather, who is from Wharton.

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