Sad news greeted Washington, D.C. area residents on the morning of July 22, when longtime local highly respected news anchor James Howard Vance III, known to viewers as Jim Vance, died at age 75.
The cause of Vance’s death was not immediately released by the station where he worked for more than 45 years, Washington, D.C. NBC affiliate WRC-TV. In May, Vance told viewers on his 11 p.m. news segment that he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
This undated photo from WRC-TV shows longtime news anchor Jim Vance. Vance died Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the age of 75, the NBC station said. Vance told viewers earlier this year that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. (Robin Fader/WRC-TV via AP)
“Jim loved his job, his family and Washington with all his heart, and we will all cherish the legacy he has left us forever,” Jackie Bradford, president and general manager of WRC-TV, said in a statement.
On the same day, a flurry of condolences were posted on Twitter.
“DC has lost a legend who loved our city and told our story straight. RIP Jim Vance,” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton tweeted. Others posted photos of Vance on his bike or at special occasions they shared with him.
Vance was the area’s longest-serving television anchor, having joined WRC-TV in 1969, and advancing to the anchor’s desk in 1972. According to the station’s website, he earned numerous awards and honors, including 17 Emmy Awards, the Ted Yates Award for outstanding community service and induction into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007. Vance was also recognized as Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine in 1976.
According to The Washington Post, Vance was open about his struggles with depression and with cocaine use in the 1980s. His public discussion of his struggle led to a request for an interview by D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who suffered from a crack-cocaine addiction.
“Why did he ask me? Because what he, like everyone else who’s been around Washington for a while knows, for more than four years I have been in recovery,” Vance reportedly told viewers in the 1990s. “The mayor thought that I might be able to advise him. I did so.”
Bradford also recalled Vance’s willingness to admit his shortcomings.
“Vance always celebrated the good and acknowledged the parts of life that didn’t go so well,” Bradford said. “That made him a great man. To everyone in the Washington area who is heartbroken today, please know we grieve right along with you.”
Vance was a native of Ardmore, Pa. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Cheyney University in Cheyney, Pa.