He was born Chris C. Rooke III in New Orleans on April 5, 1959. But we knew him as Chuck. Raised in Jackson, Mississippi, it didn’t take Chuck long to set on the path for television. With degree in hand from Southern Mississippi State University, he headed for WDAM in Hattiesburg, then WLBT in Jackson. That was the heyday of 3/4 inch decks on one shoulder, a Sony camera on the other, a tripod the size of a Humvee and light belts that weighed more than a rookie reporter. For Chuck, those were the salad days. Single, no mortgage, no worries, he would run the streets at night. Chuck always said… he didn’t know what other career he would choose. His dedication would win him several AP awards.
Chuck then joined long-time friends Joe Lanford and Charles Hobson at KRIV 18 years ago. That trio of photographers/live truck operators from Mississippi held tight to their small town roots while getting settled in the big city of Houston. Chuck ran the live truck for the morning show, then assumed the photographer role covering the courts, which he knew like the back of his hand. He never complained and always worked hard.
After marrying Rose, in 1997, Chuck dressed better, ate better and was so happy. He loved music, his grandchildren and eating crawfish.
Chuck had two families. He had Rose, his parents, siblings, children and grandchildren. But he also had a family at KRIV.
Chuck was known for never losing his temper, keeping his southern charm and letting fly with wicked one-liners that could not be repeated in civilized company. But there are many more stories of his generosity. Too many to list, suffice it to say, we benefited from his dedication, time, and attention. We are better for it.
A heart attack in May of 2005, sent Chuck to ICU. The parade of colleagues in and out of his room probably did not endear us to the medical staff, but we just had to say goodbye. At his funeral, live trucks from every station in Houston stood guard outside the chapel and at his gravesite. It gives you an idea of just how much he was respected, not just by KRIV co-workers, but with colleagues across the board. We wish you could have known him… you would have liked him.