Locher, MaryEllen

Channel 9 Co-Anchor Battled Cancer Many Years

Thursday, June 09, 2005
MaryEllen Locher
MaryEllen Locher

MaryEllen Locher, co-anchor for WTVC News Channel 9 for 20 years, died on June 9 at her home surrounded by her family.

It is not often in this life that one is blessed to be touched by someone whose very presence shines a ray of hope and faith to the darkest corners of the world around her. Today, the Tennessee Valley grieves the loss of a truly inspiring and greatly loved community leader, news personality, wife, mother and friend. To her family, she was Cissy; to the rest of those she knew and loved, she was Mel, or MaryEllen.

She was born MaryEllen Locher on Dec. 14, 1959, in Johnstown, Pa., to the late George Thomas Locher and surviving mother, Zora Gjurich Locher. From the time her personality began to emerge, it was obvious that this energetic little girl with naturally curly hair was going to make her presence known in this world. With a quick wit and a mischievous twinkle in her eye she took on life with vigor, compassion and humor.

She graduated from Conemaugh Valley High School in 1977 and continued her education at Penn State, graduating in 1981 with a major in communications.

She began her career as a reporter at WJAC in Johnstown shortly thereafter and then moved on to WTOV in Steubenville, OH. From there, in 1985, she came to the Tennessee Valley as Chattanooga’s first health reporter at WTVC where she became the co-anchor of the area’s leading news team.

While working as a health reporter, she was diagnosed with cancer and began a battle that would last nearly 20 years.

Mel knew that these years were a gift, and she made it her goal to touch as many people as she could with hope and to spend her time doing God’s work.

She and her husband, David, were married in 1988 and gave birth to their son, Alex in 1989. Much of her time and effort was spent in seeing that he understood how precious life was, and that he knew that God was in charge and would never fail him.

Her efforts to make this world a better place and minister to those who struggle with life’s challenges were evident in her accomplishments.

She received numerous awards for her work in journalism and she was a founding member of the Chattanooga Make A Wish foundation.

She started a program called Hats from the Heart, providing comfortable and stylish hats for those who lost their hair while battling cancer. This program is now in hospitals all across America.

No one’s heart was bigger than Mel’s, especially for the children. More recently she established the Children of Breast Cancer Fund, to provide much needed funding to help the children of those women fighting breast cancer.

She was most recently honored when Memorial Hospital named their new breast center the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at Memoral. This was an honor that humbled her greatly.

Mel never met a stranger. Her position in the public eye brought many people to her door and she always seemed to have time for them. Whether it was a phone call from an unknown friend fighting cancer, or a letter from a fledgling journalist, she took her responsibility to them seriously and gave all she could give.

MaryEllen was a fighter and fought to the very end. Her faith in God was evident to all who knew her. She once said, “Life isn’t easy…not for anyone.” But she made no apologies for her faith in Christ and encouraged those around her to put their trust in Him and accept His gift of eternal life.

Those whose life MaryEllen touched, will all agree, she leaves behind an eternal peace in all of us that will never fade, and we are better for it.

She is survived by her husband, David; son, Alex; stepson, Justin; her mother; sisters, Linda Locher Leckrone, of Nashville, and Judy Locher of Philadelphia; and brothers, G. Thomas Locher Jr. of Johnstown and Richard Locher of Philadelphia.

Funeral services will be Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Hixson United Methodist Church, officiated by Rev. Mark Davis and Rev. Randy Martin.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the MaryEllen Locher Memorial Fund, Box 4032, Chattanooga, TN 37405. Donations to this fund will be distributed to causes close to MaryEllen’s heart.

Condolences may be sent at www.heritagefh.com

The family will receive friends Saturday from 4-8 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.


Headrick, Norman Lee

Norman Lee Headrick, 78, of Hixson, died on Sunday, April 20, 2014.  He was a “number one self-made man”. Survivors include his wife, Peggy Hayes of Whitwell; daughters, Della Headrick of Hixson, Debra Headrick of Hixson, Vickie Williams of Fort Oglethorpe, and Alice Bowman of Lafayette, In.; sons, Bill Headrick of Nashville, Doyle Ray Headrick, of Whitwell, Benny Satterfield, ... (click for more)

Mattice, Kathryn McCoy

Kathryn McCoy Mattice died on April 20, 2014. She was born in Chattanooga on June 3, 1920. Kathryn and her husband were charter members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church before transferring to St. Paul’s and eventually to St. Timothy’s on Signal Mountain. Following graduation, Kathryn worked as an executive secretary at the Krystal Company. Later in life, she retired from AGT ... (click for more)

Richards, Jimmy Edward (Dalton)

Jimmy Edward Richards, 69, of Dalton, GA, passed away Sunday, April 20, 2014 at Hamilton Medical Center. He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas John “TJ” Richards. He worshiped at New Life Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife, Wanda Faye Souther Richards; daughters and a son-in-law, Jill & Kevin Daves of Rocky Face and Kim Elder of Dalton; mother, Ruby ... (click for more)

Rivera, Esperanza (Dalton)

Esperanza de Rivera, 44, of Dalton, GA, passed away Sunday, April 20, 2014. Mass will be held Tuesday, April 22, at 4 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church with Father Duvan Gonzalez officiating. Interment will be held in Mexico.  Her remains will lie in state at the funeral home on Tuesday, April 22 from 12-8 p.m. Arrangements are by Willis Funeral Home, Inc., ... (click for more)

City Set To Move Ahead On Study For Light Rail System; But Some Council Members Skeptical

City officials are set to move ahead in applying for a grant to study setting up a light rail system in Chattanooga, though some City Council members are skeptical. Blythe Bailey, city transportation director, said it might cost $20 million to set up a system that would use the Missionary Ridge Tunnel to go from downtown to the Chattanooga Airport as well as the Enterprise South ... (click for more)

Funeral Arrangements Set For Renee Card Monroe, Killed Monday In ATV Accident

Funeral arrangements have been set for Renee Card Monroe, 60, who was killed, along with her two grandchildren, Reagan and Jaxson Cohen, in an ATV accident on Monday when their ATV toppled into a pond. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga, Ms. Monroe was an active member of Eastwood Baptist Church where she helped lead a small Bible study group. Ms. Monroe was an entrepreneur ... (click for more)