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Published: Saturday, 5/3/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Ernestine Weathers; 1957-2014: WTVG-TV official sang in theaters, gospel choirs

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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Ernestine Weathers — “Stina” to friends and colleagues — longtime director of community affairs at WTVG-TV, Channel 13, and a singer who performed with choirs and in musical-theater productions, died Sunday at her home in Springfield Township.

She had brain cancer, her sister, Wanda, said.

Ms. Weathers, 57, was a 17-year-old Scott High School student when she began part-time work at WTVG. By her early 20s, she was the station’s continuity manager. She was best known, though, as community affairs director, a role she had until about three years ago. She worked with local groups and served on local boards, such as the Aurora House for homeless women and children. She was on the panel of judges that chose finalists for the Toledoan of the Year awards. She coordinated WTVG’s participation in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day telethon and invited school choirs to sing on WTVG during the holiday season.

She also forged relationships in the community, said Rhonda B. Sewell, media relations coordinator of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, who was a new Blade reporter in the late 1980s when she got to know Ms. Weathers.

“She was trusted. She was respected,” Ms. Sewell said. “She was a very important figure when it came to Channel 13. She was part of their brand.

“She was the face. She was the smile. She was the voice of reason. She was the person who came back to upper management and said this group or organization might deserve some coverage because of XYZ, and they would cover it based on her reputation and credibility.

“Stina also opened a lot of doors for people of color in the media business,” Ms. Sewell said. Ms. Weathers also was an early force in the founding of the Northwest Ohio Black Media Association.

Ms. Weathers sang in high school groups and in local gospel choirs, including at Friendship Baptist Church. She sang and acted in a variety of roles and musicals on a variety of stages, from the Toledo Repertoire Theatre and the Valentine Theatre locally to the Croswell Opera House in Adrian.

For all her public roles, in her career and on stage, she was a private person, Ms. Sewell and her sister said.

“It was hard to get in, but once you got into her life, you were in,” her sister said.

She was born Jan. 15, 1957, to Middie and Ernest Weathers and grew up in the Port Lawrence Homes. She was a 1975 graduate of Scott High School and attended the University of Toledo. In 1979, she was chosen to be Miss Toledo at an annual pageant sponsored by Toledo JayCees, an honor that placed her in the Miss Ohio competition.

“When she won Miss Toledo, I ran up there to her,” her sister said. “She has a picture of me crying, holding her. She was crying. I was crying. She never thought she would win. That was awesome.”

Ms. Weathers in 1980 was named Miss Black America of Toledo and was sent to Jamaica to compete in the Miss Black America of Ohio competition.

Surviving are her sister, Wanda Clayborne, and brother, Larry Lucius.

Wake services will be at 1 p.m. Monday and funeral services at 2 p.m. in the House of Day Funeral Home. The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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