WATERTOWN — Long-time north country radio and TV newscaster Donald K. Hopkins died Sept. 28 at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Mr. Hopkins, 92, started his radio career in Watertown at WATN as a nighttime disc jockey. After a few years, he left there for WWNY’s radio station in the old Hotel Woodruff on Public Square. He was a news reporter for WWNY and became a pioneer in the local TV news business at WWNY’s television station, which launched in 1954.
The Syracuse native started his own newspaper, The Minoa Gazette, at age 10 in that village and by age 16 was hosting a cowboy music show on WOLF radio station in Syracuse. At age 18, near the end of World War II, he enlisted in the Army as an entertainment specialist, spending time at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He later returned to his job at WOLF and enrolled in the journalism program at Syracuse University until a serious car accident ended his studies. Shortly after, he began his radio career at WATN.
In 1964, Mr. Hopkins became a licensed real estate broker and for 13 years he worked in both radio and real estate. In 1977, he and his wife, Barbara, opened Hopkins Homes on Coffeen Street, moving it to Arsenal Street three years later. When the couple retired in 1995 and turned the business over to their daughter-in-law, Beth Hopkins, the business had 20 agents and included a commercial real estate division.
The couple moved to Sackets Harbor in 1952 and Mr. Hopkins was elected a village trustee in 1959. For most of the time between 1959 and 1982, either Mr. Hopkins or Mrs. Hopkins were members of the elected leadership in the village, with Mr. Hopkins also serving as mayor. He also served as a Hounsfield town board member, a volunteer fireman, a youth and adult baseball coach and was an elder and Sunday school leader at the United Presbyterian Church of Sackets Harbor, among other accomplishments.
Barbara, his wife of 69 years, died in 2017. Among Mr. Hopkins’s survivors are a daughter, Cheryl, and wife Mary Louise Smith, Greensboro, N.C., a son Dale, and wife Beth Hopkins, Chaumont, and a sister, Connie Billings, North Syracuse.
A full obituary will be published at a later time.