Don Nelson announces his retirement from ABC-13

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Monday, February 2, 2015
Don Nelson is retiring
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Don Nelson announces his retirement after gracing Houston television sets for the last 39 years.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- He says it's time.

After gracing Houston television sets for the last 39 years and 4 months, ABC-13's Don Nelson says he's ready to retire. His last day will be Friday, February 27th.

Don has been the driving force of morning TV in Houston, and he's one of the biggest reasons our morning news has always been number one.

"For 27 years, I've had the privilege of sitting next to a great man and a great talent," said ABC-13 anchor Tom Koch. "Don's one of the kindest and most generous people I've ever known, and the funniest. His wit is so quick that I have to practice mental calisthenics every morning just to keep up with him. In the newsroom, he's known as a hard-working leader and a chef who keeps his colleagues well fed. It's hard for me to believe he's actually retiring because his youthful spirit remains strong. But after 39 years of morning news, he's earned the right to sleep in instead of putting on makeup every morning and reading out loud. Don likes to joke that if you can't be great, sit next to greatness. I have and I will miss him."

"Most people know Don is quick-witted and funny, but he is also one of the sweetest people I know," said ABC-13 meteorologist Casey Curry. "Don is kind and giving to everyone around him. It's heartbreaking to imagine not seeing him every day. I know he is going to enjoy sleeping in!"

PHOTOS: See Don Nelson's hair styles over the years.

Don calls himself a "Jack of all Trades, Master of None." On top of bringing you traffic reports in the mornings, he's interviewed countless celebrities, sports stars, rodeo entertainers and more over the years. He's traveled to Los Angeles to interview the new ABC program stars, and he's helped co-host almost all of the station's special programs.

"During his 39 years with the station, Don has done it all: hosting our "Dialing For Dollars" and "Good Morning Houston," covering traffic for our morning newscasts, and interviewing many notable celebrities and entertainers," said Henry Florsheim, President and General Manager of KTRK-TV. "He has done all of these things with hard work and passion, and in the process has formed a strong bond with ABC-13 viewers. He came to us expressing his desire to start the next part of his life, and though we are very sorry to see him go, we wish him the best as a valued friend and colleague."

Viewers and fellow employees know Don as a man who loves to cook, and those who are lucky enough to taste his culinary talents are never disappointed! Don's acted as our morning show chef, organizing pancake breakfasts and grilled lunches for the crew.

He's also served as a personal mentor to many of the rising newscasters on air and behind the scenes at ABC-13.

"Don Nelson is exactly who he is on the air: genuine, warm, knowledgeable, hilarious," said former ABC-13 morning show producer Brett Birkinbine. "Behind the scenes, Don was our cheerleader and our motivational speaker. From prompter operators to executive producers, Don made sure everyone on the team felt valued. Don never took himself or TV too seriously; and that was the perfect recipe for decades of success."

"I always think of Don Nelson as the consummate professional who is one of a kind and has one of the best funny bones in the business," said ABC-13 field anchor Sharron Melton. "The quickest wit and nicest guy out there who, from the first day I walked in the door, always made me feel like I was part of a great extended family! Thank you Don!"

Don says his motto has always been that a good laugh tops anything else.

Don is always the first smiling face I see in the morning when I walk through the door and, because it's Don, the smile is usually followed by a joke," said ABC-13's Samica Knight. "He is one of the sweetest, most loving people I know and I will miss celebrating our birthday together at work. We'll miss you Don!"

"Don has made "work" seem a lot more like "play" for all of these years. With a quick wit, and a great sense of humor, as well as a general sense of caring for all he touches, it has truly been my pleasure to work with him for the last 20 years," said ABC-13 director Mike Fernau. "Happy Trails, Don!!!! Until we meet again!!!!"

So what does he plan to do now?

"I will be immediately going to the gym daily to find out where all these noises are coming from when I move," Don said.

Below are some of our favorite Don Nelson moments from over the years.

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